Details behind Award:
Kleinsmith reported to USS Yorktown (CV-5) on 31 October 1940. During the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942, Kleinsmith maintained auxiliary power on Yorktown after an intense enemy bombing attack extinguished the fires in all boilers but one. Despite the stifling fumes, intense heat, and imminence of explosion, he performed courageously, enabling the fighting carrier to attain speed necessary for launching planes to oppose a Japanese aerial torpedo attack. At the end of the attack, Chief Watertender Kleinsmith was missing and presumed dead. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Charles Kleinsmith (02428775), Watertender First Class, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty in while serving as a member of the Boiler Crew of No. 1 Fireroom on board the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. YORKTOWN (CV-5), in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. During an intense bombing attack, the explosion of an enemy bomb in the uptakes of the forward group of boilers extinguished the fires in all boilers except No 1, and filled all boiler rooms with heavy smoke and gasses. In spite of the heat, stifling fumes and the imminence of explosion, Water Tender First Class Kleinsmith and a comrade, with complete disregard for their own personal safety, assisted in keeping the boiler under steam to keep the ship's auxiliary power in operation. Their capable performance of this task helped to make it possible for the YORKTOWN to attain the speed necessary for launching fighting planes in time to oppose a Japanese aerial torpedo attack. The conduct of Watertender First Class Kleinsmith throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.