Richard Wainwright (Medal of Honor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Richard Wainwright, see Richard Wainwright (disambiguation).
Richard Wainwright
Richard Wainwright Jr USNA.jpg
Wainwright as a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman
Nickname(s) Dick[1]
Born (1881-09-15)September 15, 1881
Washington, D.C.
Died March 28, 1944(1944-03-28) (aged 62)
Annapolis, Maryland
Place of burial United States Naval Academy Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1903-1921
Rank Commander
Commands held Landing force from the USS Florida (BB-30)
Battles/wars Veracruz (1914)
Awards Medal of Honor
Relations son of Admiral Richard Wainwright

Commander Richard Wainwright, Jr. (September 15, 1881 – March 28, 1944), was an officer in the United States Navy during World War I who received the Medal of Honor for actions during the 1914 Veracruz action.


Born in Washington, D.C., the son of Evelyn Wotherspoon and Richard Wainwright. He was the grandson of Sarah Franklin Bache and Richard Wainwright. He was the great-grandson of Richard Bache, Jr., who served in the Republic of Texas navy and was elected to serve in the Texas legislature and Sophia Burrell Dallas, the daughter of Arabella Maria Smith and Alexander J. Dallas an American statesman who served as the U.S. Treasury Secretary under President James Madison. He was also great-great-grandson of Sarah Franklin Bache and Richard Bache, and more notably he was the great-great-great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin[2] as well as a nephew of George Mifflin Dallas, the 11th Vice President of the United States, serving under James K. Polk.

Wainwright shaking hands with United States President Theodore Roosevelt as Wainwright graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy

His uncle was Admiral Seaton Schroeder.

He was appointed "at large" from the District of Columbia to the United States Naval Academy and graduated from there in 1902. For his two-year required Midshipman sea duty, he served on board USS Indiana and USS Chauncey, where he was commissioned an Ensign in May 1904. In December 1905, he returned to sea on board USS Texas then transferred to USS Louisiana. Remaining at sea, Wainwright received orders to USS Connecticut, where he served during that ship's participation in the voyage of the Great White Fleet around the world from 1907 to 1909.[3][4][5]

Richard Wainwright married Alice Sorrel Blech (1882-1965) in 1910. At the time, Miss Blech was social secretary for First Lady of the United States Helen Taft, wife of then President Taft.[6][7] The couple had at least one child, Richard Wainwright III (1911-1936).[8]

In 1911, his assignment supported the early development of naval aviation, and he was recognized as an aviation expert alongside Captain Washington Irving Chambers.[9] He detached from there in May 1911 to attend the summer session at the Naval War College.[10]

After completing the summer course, Wainwright received orders to the battleship USS Florida (BB-30). While leading a landing party from that ship in battle at Veracruz, Mexico, he earned the Medal of Honor for his outstanding conduct on April 21-22, 1914.[3]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and 22 April 1914. Lt. Wainwright was eminent and conspicuous in command of his battalion; was in the fighting of both days, and exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through action. In seizing the customhouse, he encountered for many hours the heaviest and most pernicious concealed fire of the entire day, but his courage and coolness under trying conditions were marked.

In September 1914, Wainwright detached from the Florida with orders to the Naval Academy.[11] He received a promotion to Lieutenant Commander on April 28, 1915. He served at the Naval Academy until his retirement.[5]


Wainwright retired from the Navy, with a physical disability, on March 3, 1921.[3]

From November 1925 to January 1929, he served as Superintendent of the Navy Department Library.[12]

During World War II, he was recalled to active duty in February 1942 and promoted to Commander.[5]

He died in Annapolis, Maryland March 28, 1944, and is buried in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery.[3]


Three ships have been named USS Wainwright for his father Richard, his grandfather and two other relatives.

See also[edit]


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  1. ^ "Wainwright to Leave Navy". The Princeton Union (Princeton, Minnesota). 21 December 1911. p. 10. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Descendants of Signers of the Declaration of Independence". Evening star. (Washington, D.C.). 2 July 1911. p. 6 (Part 4). Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Wainwright". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps and Reserve Officers on Active Duty. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. 1908. p. 199. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "Richard Wainright, Jr., Commander, USN (Retired), (1881-1944)". Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Miss Alice Blech Bride of Lieut. Wainwright". The Washington Herald (Washington, D.C.). 27 April 1910. p. 5. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "Social Secretaries, Profession Demands High Personal Qualities". Evening Star (Washington, D.C.). 2 July 1922. p. 12 (Part 2). Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Births, Marriages and Deaths". Army-Navy-Air Force Register and Defense Times 49 (1628): 18. 4 March 1911. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Aviation in the Navy". The Bridgeport Evening Farmer (Bridgeport, Connecticut). 21 March 1911. p. 8. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "Navy Times". Army-Navy-Air Force Register and Defense Times 49 (1640): 23. 27 May 1911. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "Navy Times". Army-Navy-Air Force Register and Defense Times 56 (1782): 342. 12 September 1914. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Officers and Key Personnel Attached to the Office of Naval Records and Library 1882-1946". Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 

External links[edit]