McDonnell, Edward Orrick, VADM

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Last Rank
Vice Admiral
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1944-1945, 131X, USS Nehenta Bay (CVE-74)
Service Years
1908 - 1951
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Gregg Baitinger, BM1 to remember McDonnell, Edward Orrick (MOH), VADM.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Bolivia, North Carolina

Date of Passing
Jan 06, 1960
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 2, Grave 4955-4

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Edward McDonnell was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1912. He received the Medal of Honor for actions at the United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914.

On 10 March 1919 Lt Cdr McDonnell flew a British-built Sopwith Camel off an overhauled gun turret on the USS Texas and thus became the first man to fly an airplane off a battleship.

Admiral McDonnell died in the 1960 bombing of National Airlines Flight 2511 in Bolivia, North Carolina.

In an effort to force out General Victoriano Huerta, who had seized the presidency of Mexico in a bloody coup d' etat, President Woodrow Wilson sent three Navy vessels to Vera Cruz under the command of Rear Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher. On the morning of April 21 nearly 1,500 American combat troops were put ashore, and that night another 1,500 reinforcements landed. By noon on April 22nd the American forces had taken control of the city. In the two day action Fletcher lost 17 men killed, 63 wounded. The Mexicans had nearly 800 dead or wounded. Ensign Edward McDonnell maintained a signal station on the roof of the Terminal Hotel, from which he maintained communication between the ships and the ground troops combating enemy forces in the city. Though one man in his station was killed and three wounded beside him, he ignored the heavy enemy attacks on the important signal station for two days to insure that communications continued unabated throughout some of the heaviest periods of fighting.

The men who landed at Vera Cruz on April 21 - 22 accomplished their mission in two days, and returned to their vessels within the same week.

Other Comments:

Medal of Honor citation-

Rank and organization: Ensign Organization: U.S. Navy Born:13 November 1891, Baltimore, Md. Accredited to: Maryland Date of issue: 12/04/1915


"For extraordinary heroism in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and 22 April 1914. Posted on the roof of the Terminal Hotel and landing, Ens. McDonnell established a signal station there day and night, maintaining communication between troops and ships. At this exposed post he was continually under fire. One man was killed and 3 wounded at his side during the 2 days' fighting. He showed extraordinary heroism and striking courage and maintained his station in the highest degree of efficiency. All signals got through, largely due to his heroic devotion to duty."

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Naval Aviator Wings

 Duty Stations
US NavyNAS PensacolaFloyd Bennett Field, NYUSS Nehenta Bay (CVE-74)
  1912-1912, 000X, USS New Jersey (BB-16)
  1913-1914, 000X, USS Florida (BB-30)
  1915-1917, 131X, NAS Pensacola
  1939-1941, Floyd Bennett Field, NY
  1944-1944, 131X, USS Long Island (CVE-1)
  1944-1945, 131X, USS Nehenta Bay (CVE-74)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1914-1914 US Occupation of Veracruz
  1917-1918 World War I
  1942-1945 World War II
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1908-1912, United States Naval Academy
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