Robert H. Stanley

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Robert Henry Stanley
Robert H Stanley.jpg
Robert H. Stanley as a Chief Pharmacist
Born (1881-05-02)May 2, 1881
Brooklyn, New York
Died July 15, 1942(1942-07-15) (aged 61)
Pensacola, Florida
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1898–1939
Rank Chief Pharmacist
Unit USS Vermont
USS Newark (C-1)
USS America
Battles/wars Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
Boxer Rebellion
World War I
Awards Medal of Honor

Robert Henry Stanley (May 2, 1881 – July 15, 1942) was a United States Navy sailor and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for carrying messages under fire during the Boxer Rebellion.

Early life and military career[edit]

Stanley was born Brooklyn, New York May 2, 1881 and enlisted in the Navy aboard the receiving ship USS Vermont, moored at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, on March 28, 1898. Aged sixteen, he served as a landsman and participated in the Spanish–American War, which was declared only a month after his enlistment, and the Philippine–American War which began in 1899.[1]

By June 13, 1900, he was serving as a Hospital Apprentice on the USS Newark in China. The Newark had been sent to relieve Allied forces fighting in the Boxer Rebellion. On June 13 and again from June 20 to June 22, in Beijing (then known to Americans as "Peking"), he volunteered to carry messages between the American and British legations despite heavy fire.[1][2]

For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor a year later, on July 19, 1901.[2] The medal was presented to him aboard the armored cruiser USS Brooklyn.[1] Nineteen years old at the time he earned the award, Stanley was the youngest Medal of Honor recipient of the Boxer Rebellion.[3] He was also the first member of the U.S. Navy medical community to receive the award. His official citation reads: "For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy in volunteering and carrying messages under fire at Peking, China, 12 July 1900."[2]

Stanley became a member of the Imperial Order of the Dragon, a fraternal society for veterans of the Boxer Rebellion of all ranks. This organization contrasted with the Military Order of the Dragon whose membership consisted solely of commissioned officers.

Later career[edit]

Stanley was discharged from the Navy, only one month after being awarded the Medal of Honor, on August 8, 1901. He later re-enlisted in 1917 to serve in World War I. During the war, he served on the USS America (ID-3006), a German passenger liner seized by the United States and converted to a troop transport.

Stanley was promoted to the warrant officer rank of Pharmacist on August 5, 1920. He was promoted to Chief Pharmacist on September 24, 1923.

Retirement and death[edit]

He retired from the Navy on February 1, 1939. Three years later, he died in Pensacola, Florida, at age 61 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[1] His grave can be found in section 7, lot 8348.[4]


Medal of Honor citation[edit]


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in the presence of the enemy in volunteering and carrying messages under fire at Peking, China on 12 July 1900. Hospital Apprentice Stanley's exceptional fortitude, inspiring initiative, and unrelenting devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.[5]

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. ^ a b c d "Robert Henry Stanley". Pride of Place Hall of Honor Exhibit. National Naval Medical Center. Retrieved October 5, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "Medal of Honor recipients - China Relief Expedition". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. Retrieved October 5, 2009. 
  3. ^ Owens, Ron (2004). Medal of Honor: Historical Facts and Figures. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company. p. 75. ISBN 1-56311-995-1. 
  4. ^ "Robert H. Stanley". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved December 18, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Robert H. Stanley". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved December 18, 2009. 

External links[edit]

  • "Arlington National Cemetery website". Robert Henry Stanley: Hospital Apprentice, United States Navy. Arlington National Cemetery website. November 6, 2005. Retrieved January 15, 2010.