Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Francis

Last Name: Ormsbee

Birthplace: Providence, RI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Machinist's Mate Chief Petty Officer

Middle Name: Edward

Date of Birth: 30 April 1892

Date of Death: 24 October 1936

Rank or Rate: Chief Petty Officer

Years Served: 1917 - 1929
Francis Edward Ormsbee, Jr.

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


Francis Edward Ormsbee, Jr.

Chief Machinist's Mate, U.S. Navy

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War I

Chief Machinist's Mate Francis Edward Ormsbee, Jr. (30 April 1892 - 24 October 1936) was a U.S. Navy sailor who received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War I.

Francis Edward Ormsbee, Jr. was born on 30 April 1892 in Providence, RI. After growing up in Rhode Island, Ormsbee joined the U.S. Navy in 1917. He was serving at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida in 1918 when he rescued a gunner from a downed aircraft at great personal risk. He was awarded the Navy Cross, which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Chief Machinist's Mate, U.S. Navy.

Citation: For extraordinary heroism while attached to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla., on 25 September 1918. While flying with Ens. J. A. Jova, Ormsbee saw a plane go into a tailspin and crash about three-quarters of a mile to the right. Having landed nearby, Ormsbee lost no time in going overboard and made for the wreck, which was all under water except the 2 wing tips. He succeeded in partially extricating the gunner so that his head was out of water, and held him in this position until the speedboat arrived. Ormsbee then made a number of desperate attempts to rescue the pilot, diving into the midst of the tangled wreckage although cut about the hands, but was too late to save his life.

Several sources state that Ormsbee was not a pilot at the time of this incident, but rather a member of the aircrew. He would go on to earn his wings in 1920, receiving the Naval Aviation Number "NAP-25." His brother, Army Second Lieutenant Harry Selfridge Ormsbee, died in a crash just over a year before Frank qualified as a pilot in the Navy.

Post-Military Life

Francis Ormsbee left the Navy in 1929 and worked in a number of private roles, including flying airmail in Central America. He was known for flying what was, at the time, the World's longest airmail route - Miami, Florida to Santiago, Chile. In 1935, he joined the Bureau of Air Commerce, serving as Assistant Manager of the First Air Navigation Division, as well as a Patrol Pilot and Inspector. He served until his death in 1936.

Death and Burial

Chief Machinist's Mate Francis Edward Ormsbee, Jr. died on 24 October 1936 in a plane crash while attempting to land at Ardmore, OK, to wait for bad weather to clear. On Saturday, 24 October 1936, while flying alone in a heavy overcast, he collided with a "mountain" north of Woodford, OK. His body was found along with the wreckage of his Curtiss Air Sedan the following day.

He is buried at Saint Francis Cemetery in Pawtucket, RI.

Honoree ID: 1802   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image