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Capt. John Philip Cromwell was the most senior submariner awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II and one of the three submarine officers who received it posthumously. In some ways similar to his fellow honoree, Howard Gilmore, Cromwell consciously chose to sacrifice his own life to safeguard the lives of others in a tragic incident that took place in November 1943. And then, the tragedy of his death on USS Sculpin (SS-191) was further compounded by an irony of fate that is still pondered sadly today. John Cromwell was born in Henry, Illinois, on 11 September 1901 and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with the class of 1924. He served in the battleship USS Maryland (BB-46) and in several submarines, eventually commanding USS S-20 (SS-125). At the beginning of World War II, he was on the staff of Commander, Submarines Pacific, running Submarine Divisions 203 and 44. Later he was also assigned command of Submarine Division 43, with additional duty in command of Submarine Division 44, flying his pennant in Sculpin.


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