Rank and organization:   Boatswain's Mate Second Class, U.S. Navy.
31 May 1920, Daggett, Mich.
Accredited to:   Michigan.
Citation:   For conspicuous
gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty as a diver engaged in rescue operations at West Loch, Pearl
Harbor, 17 February 1945. Aware of the danger when 2 fellow divers were
hopelessly trapped in a cave-in of steel wreckage while tunneling with
jet nozzles under an LST sunk in 40 feet of water and 20 feet of mud. Hammerberg
unhesitatingly went overboard in a valiant attempt to effect their rescue
despite the certain hazard of additional cave-ins and the risk of fouling
his lifeline on jagged pieces of steel imbedded in the shifting mud. Washing
a passage through the original excavation, he reached the first of the
trapped men, freed him from the wreckage and, working desperately in pitch-black
darkness, finally effected his release from fouled lines, thereby enabling
him to reach the surface. Wearied but undaunted after several hours of
arduous labor, Hammerberg resolved to continue his struggle to wash through
the oozing submarine, subterranean mud in a determined effort to save the
second diver. Venturing still farther under the buried hulk, he held tenaciously
to his purpose, reaching a place immediately above the other man just as
another cave-in occurred and a heavy piece of steel pinned him crosswise
over his shipmate in a position which protected the man beneath from further
injury while placing the full brunt of terrific pressure on himself. Although
he succumbed in agony 18 hours after he had gone to the aid of his fellow
divers, Hammerberg, by his cool judgment, unfaltering professional skill
and consistent disregard of all personal danger in the face of tremendous
odds, had contributed effectively to the saving of his 2 comrades. His
heroic spirit of self-sacrifice throughout enhanced and sustained the highest
traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the
service of 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)