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First Name: Milton

Last Name: Ricketts

Birthplace: Baltimore, MD, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Home of Record: Annapolis, MD
Middle Name: Ernest

Date of Birth: 05 August 1913

Date of Death: 08 May 1942

Rank or Rate: Lieutenant

Years Served: 1935 - 1942
Milton Ernest Ricketts

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Milton Ernest Ricketts

Lieutenant, U.S. Navy

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Lieutenant Milton Ernest Ricketts (5 August 1913 - 8 May 1942) was a U.S. Navy officer who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II.

Milton Ernest Ricketts was born on 5 August 1913 in Baltimore, MD. He graduated from the Baltimore City College high school and then from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1935 and subsequently served on the USS Ranger (CV-4) and USS Yorktown (CV-5). On 8 May 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea, Lieutenant Ricketts was in charge of a damage control party on board the Yorktown. When a Japanese bomb exploded among his group, he successfully undertook fire-fighting measures despite having received mortal wounds. For this act, Ricketts was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy.

Citation: For extraordinary and distinguished gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of the Engineering Repair Party of the U.S.S. Yorktown in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea on 8 May 1942. During the severe bombarding of the Yorktown by enemy Japanese forces, an aerial bomb passed through and exploded directly beneath the compartment in which Lt. Ricketts' battle station was located, killing, wounding or stunning all of his men and mortally wounding him. Despite his ebbing strength, Lt. Ricketts promptly opened the valve of a near-by fireplug, partially led out the fire hose and directed a heavy stream of water into the fire before dropping dead beside the hose. His courageous action, which undoubtedly prevented the rapid spread of fire to serious proportions, and his unflinching devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart


The Edsall-class destroyer escort USS Ricketts (DE-254) was named in his honor.

Death and Burial

Lieutenant Milton Ernest Ricketts was killed in action on 8 May 1942. He was buried at sea. His name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila, Manila City, Philippines.

Honoree ID: 1614   Created by: MHOH




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