William Zuiderveld, Medal of Honor recipient
January 8, 1888|
Tallmadge Township, Michigan
|Died||February 5, 1978
|Place of burial||Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery San Diego, California|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Battles/wars||US occupation of Veracruz
World War II
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
William Zuiderveld (January 8, 1888 – February 5, 1978) was a United States Navy Hospital Apprentice First Class. He received the Medal of Honor for actions during the United States occupation of Veracruz.
Service during United States occupation of Veracruz
In 1914, Zuiderveld took part in the United States occupation of Veracruz, serving as a corpsman with a company of armed Navy sailor (known as "Bluejackets") who were tasked with capturing the city's Customs House.
The company, led by Ensign George M. Lowry, became pinned down by "murderous rifle and machine-gun fire" as they approached the Custom's house. Not wanting to risk his entire company, Lowry asked for volunteers to approach the Custom's House from the side. Five men volunteered: Joseph G. Harner, Coxswain J. F. Schumaker, Boatswain's Mate Second Class George Cregan, and Seamen Harry C. Beasley and Lawrence C. Sinnett.
Lowry lead the volunteers into a narrow alley, where they came under a cross fire from riflemen in the Custom's Building and machine gunners in a nearby hotel. During this fighting, "A bullet clipped one of the buttons off Lowry's cap and another tore through his right legging, creasing the flesh. Beasley was slightly wounded, and Schumaker was shot through the head."
After his men were able to silence the machine gunners with return rifle fire, Lowry called for a corpsman to help Schumaker. Zuiderveld ran down the alley while under fire and tried to stop the flow of blood from Schumaker's head.
Once Zuiderveld carried Schumaker—who would soon die—to the rear, Lowry and his surviving men worked their way up the alley and scaled the wall around the Custom's House. Several days later, Lowry returned to the scene and counted twelve bullet impacts on the wall where his men had climbed it. After Lowry and his men smashed through a window of the Custom's House, the personnel inside surrendered.
Zuiderveld, along with almost all of the men who volunteered for the attack, received the Medal of Honor for their actions.
Medal of Honor citation
On board the USS Florida, Zuiderveld showed extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914.
- The Landing at Veracruz, 1914, by Jack Sweetman, U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1968, page 72-3.
- The Landing at Veracruz, 1914, by Jack Sweetman, U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1968, page 72.
- The Landing at Veracruz, 1914, by Jack Sweetman, U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1968, page 73.