John F. Auer
|John F. Auer|
Nyack, New York
|Died||1951 (aged 84–85)
Nyack, New York
|Place of burial||Oak Hill Cemetery|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||c. 1882-c.1887|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
John F. Auer (1866-May 28, 1951) was a sailor in the United States Navy who was one of 193 people received the Medal of Honor during peacetime, a practice no longer authorized by law, and one of only 3,449 recipients of the award.
Auer was born in 1866 in Nyack, New York, the fifth of five children of Joseph Auer, a stable owner and harness maker. When he was sixteen years old, Auer joined the United States Navy because he wanted to see the world. After completing basic training he was assigned to the USS Lancaster, the flagship of the European Squadron as a Seaman Apprentice. On November 20, 1883, while the Lancaster was in port in Marseille, France, a young Frenchman who was on a stone pier astern of the Lancaster fell overboard, and disappeared below the water twice. Seeing him, and realizing that the boy could not swim, Auer jumped into the water together with Boatswain's Mate Matthew Gillick, and they were able to rescue the boy. For their heroism, both Auer and Gillick were awarded the United States' highest military decoration for gallantry, the Medal of Honor, on February 2, 1884. Before Seaman Auer left the Navy, the medal was stolen, though he wore the ribbon (and retained the citation) until his final years.
Auer served in the Navy for five years, after which he returned to his native Nyack. He worked as a letter carrier at Nyack's post office, and kept the same route for over twenty years. Auer died on May 28, 1951, and was survived by his two sons. He was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Nyack. His grave can be found in section K, lot 139.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Ordinary Seaman Apprentice, U.S. Navy. Born: 1866, New York. Accredited to: New York.
On board the U.S.S. Lancaster, Marseille, France, 20 November 1883. Jumping overboard, Auer rescued from drowning a French lad who had fallen into the sea from a stone pier astern of the ship.
-  The Hall of Heroes; accessed December 6, 2009.
- Congressional Medal of Honor Society Statistics, Page; accessed December 6, 2009
- John F. Auer, Holder of Congressional Medal of Honor, Dies at Nyack Home, Nyack Journal News March 28, 1951
-  Nyack Villager; November 2009 issue
-  U.S. Army listing of Medal of Honor citations