Theodore Stark Wilkinson bigraphy, stories - United States Navy Medal of Honor recipient

Theodore Stark Wilkinson : biography

December 22, 1888 - February 21, 1946

Theodore Stark "Ping" Wilkinson (December 22, 1888 – February 21, 1946) was a Vice-Admiral of the United States Navy during World War II. He also received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Veracruz, Mexico.


Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Ensign, U.S. Navy. Born: December 22, 1888, Annapolis, Md. Appointed from: Louisiana. G.O. No.: 177, December 4, 1915. Other Navy award: Distinguished Service Medal with gold stars in lieu of 2 additional DSM's.


For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and April 22, 1914. Ens. Wilkinson was in both days' fighting at the head of his company and was eminent and conspicuous in his conduct, leading his men with skill and courage .

Ribbon bar

Vice Admiral Theodore Stark Wilkinson´s ribbon bar:

number=2|type=award-star|ribbon=Navy Distinguished Service ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=Mexican Service Medal ribbon.svg|width=106}} number=1|type=service-star|ribbon=World War I Victory Medal ribbon.svg|width=106}}
number=1|type=service-star|ribbon=American Defense Service ribbon.svg|width=106|alt=}} number=0|type=oak|ribbon=American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg|width=106|alt=}} number=4|type=service-star|ribbon=Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg|width=106|alt=}}
number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg|width=106|alt=}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=Phliber rib.png|width=106}} number=0|type=award-star|ribbon=Order of the Bath (ribbon).svg|width=106}}
1st Row Medal of Honor
2nd Row Navy Distinguished Service Medal w/2 gold stars Mexican Service Medal World War I Victory Medal w/ Escort Clasp
3rd Row American Defense Service Medal w/ Atlantic Clasp American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ four bronze service stars
4th Row World War II Victory Medal Philippine Liberation Medal Companion of the Order of the Bath

Early life and career

Wilkinson entered the United States Naval Academy in 1905 and graduated first in the class of 1909. He served the two years of sea duty then required by law prior to commissioning, in the battleships and , before he received his ensign's commission on June 5, 1911. After instruction at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., under the auspices of the Navy's Bureau of Ordnance (BuOrd), Wilkinson reported to the battleship on July 25, 1913 for sea duty. During his time in that dreadnought, Ens. Wilkinson led Florida's 2d Company in action during the landings on 21 and April 22, 1914 at Veracruz, Mexico. For his skillful and courageous leadership of that unit of the battleship's landing force and his exhibition of "eminent and conspicuous" conduct, he received the Medal of Honor.


In 1952, the destroyer leader was named in his honor.

World War I and interwar years

On August 4, he was transferred to the armored cruiser , and two days later sailed eastward in her across the Atlantic. Tennessee and were ordered to European waters to evacuate Americans trapped on the continent by the outbreak of World War I. On September 3, he became an assistant to the naval attaché at Paris and a month later left that post to join North Carolina in the Mediterranean. Subsequently, the young officer had tours of sea duty: first as aide, to Commander, 2d Division, Atlantic Fleet, and then as aide to the commander of the 7th Division.

From July 1916 to July 1919, Wilkinson served with distinction as the head of the Experimental Section, Bureau of Ordnance, where he developed ordnance materials and devices, most notable being a noxious gas filler for shells and an "exceptionally satisfactory smoke screen". Additionally, he was deemed largely responsible for the successful design of a depth charge and for the development of the firing mechanism of the Mark VI mine used in the North Sea Mine Barrage.

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