Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Navy.
Birth: 11 September 1901,
Appointed from: Illinois.
Other Navy awards: Legion of Merit.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his
life above and beyond the call of duty as Commander of a Submarine Coordinated
Attack Group with Flag in the U.S.S. Sculpin, during the 9th War Patrol
of that vessel in enemy-controlled waters off Truk Island, 19 November
1943. Undertaking this patrol prior to the launching of our first large-scale
offensive in the Pacific, Capt. Cromwell, alone of the entire Task Group,
possessed secret intelligence information of our submarine strategy and
tactics, scheduled Fleet movements and specific attack plans. Constantly
vigilant and precise in carrying out his secret orders, he moved his underseas
flotilla inexorably forward despite savage opposition and established a
line of submarines to southeastward of the main Japanese stronghold at
Truk. Cool and undaunted as the submarine, rocked and battered by Japanese
depth charges, sustained terrific battle damage and sank to an excessive
depth, he authorized the Sculpin to surface and engage the enemy in a gunfight,
thereby providing an opportunity for the crew to abandon ship. Determined
to sacrifice himself rather than risk capture and subsequent danger of
revealing plans under Japanese torture or use of drugs, he stoically remained
aboard the mortally wounded vessel as she plunged to her death. Preserving
the security of his mission, at the cost of his own life, he had served
his country as he had served the Navy, with deep integrity and an uncompromising
devotion to duty. His great moral courage in the face of certain death
adds new luster to the traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly
gave his life for his country.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)