Born in Bewster, New York, on January 3, 1876, he is one of the rare American servicemembers to have received two (2) Medals of Honor for separate actions.
He was awarded the first Medal while serving as a Chief, USN, during the Boxer Rebellion in China on July 13,20,21, and 22, 1901. He was awarded the second Medal while serving at Vera Cruz, Mexico, April 22, 1914.
He died in Leonia, New Jersey, on May 24, 1945 and was buried in Section 8 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Sarah Frances McCloy (1876-1942), is buried with him.
McCLOY, JOHN (First Award)
Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 3 January 1876, Brewsters, New York. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Other Navy award: Second Medal of Honor.
In action with the relief expedition of the Allied forces in China, 13, 20, 21, and 22 June 1900. During this period and in the presence of the enemy, Coxswain McCloy distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.
McCLOY, JOHN (Second Award)
Rank and organization: Chief Boatswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 3 January 1876, Brewster, New York. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 177, 4 December 1915. Other Navy awards: Second Medal of Honor, Navy Cross.
For heroism in leading 3 picket launches along Vera Cruz sea front, drawing Mexican fire and enabling cruisers to save our men on shore, 22 April 1914. Though wounded, he gallantly remained at his post.
JOHN MCCLOY, WON TWO HONOR MEDALS
Retired Naval Hero Dies in New Jersey
Cited For Deeds in China and at Vera Cruz
LEONIA, New Jersey, May 25, 1945 – Lieutenant Commander John McCoy, USN, retired, one of the few men to win two Congressional Medals of Honor, and a holder also of the Navy Cross, was found dead in bed today by his housekeeper at his home here. A hero of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, the Vera Cruz incident of 1914 and the First World War, he died during the night, apparently of a heart attack. He age was 69.
After a career that carried him from China to the mine-infested North Sea in the First World War, Lieutenant Commander McCloy retired from active service twenty-five years ago. He inspired veterans of the present conflict with his presence at war rallies and military functions.
When he was honored last January on the eve of his sixty-ninth birthday at a dinner sponsored by the Legion of Valor in Fraunces Tavern, New York, he minimized the occasion of his first citation saying, “Every man in the company deserved the Medal of Honor.”
A boyhood desire to go to sea impelled him to leave his home in Kingston, New York, where he was born. He was 15 years old when he joined the Merchant Marine. He joined the Navy in March 1898.
He was a Coxswain when he earned his first Congressional Medal of Honor in the Boxer Rebellion “for distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy in the battles of 13, 20, 21, 22 June 1900, while with the relief expedition under Vice Admiral Seymour.” His superior officer was the late Captain Bowman McCalla of the USS Newark. Admiral Seymour of the Royal Navy was in command of the entire expedition. There were 106 other bluejackets in the group, which fought with distinction in an ordered retreat from Peking to Tientsin.
It was as Chief Boatswain that he won his second Congressional Medal of Honor for “eminent and conspicuous conduct” at Vera Cruz.
In citing him for “extraordinary heroism,” Josephus Daniels, who was then Secretary of the Navy, “recorded that McCloy led a flotilla of three picket launches, which mounted one-pounders, along the sea front of Vera Cruz in front of the Naval School and Custom House. The launches drew the combined fire of the Mexicans in that vicinity and thus enabled the cruisers to shell them out temporarily and save our men on shore.”
“The conduct of Chief Boatswain McCloy was eminent and conspicuous, and although shot through the thigh during this fire, he remained at his post as beachmaster for forty-eight hours until sent to a hospital ship,” the citation added.
On November 11, 1920, the Navy Cross was awarded to McCloy for distinguished service as Lieutenant Commander of the USS Curlew, a minesweeper operating in the North Sea.
He wore three other Navy decorations, one for service in the West Indies campaign, one for the Philippines and another for China. The State of New York, in recognition of his valor, also presented a medal to him. In charge of a Navy tug in 1898 he saved two men from drowning and had rescued the entire crew of a schooner in a hurricane off the Florida Keys.
After his retirement, Commander McCloy interested himself in boys’ club work in New York He moved to Leonia six years ago. In his will be bequeathed his medals and citations to St. John’s Roman Catholic Church here. Commander McCloy was past National Commander of the Legion of Valor, a member of the Imperial Order of the Dragon and the Floyd Gibbons Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was also a member of the Adventurers Club.
A funeral service will be held in St. John’s on Monday morning and burial will take place in Arlington National Cemetery where his wife, Mrs. Sarah Frances McCloy, was buried after her death on October 28, 1942. There are no immediate survivors.
LIEUT COMMANDER US NAVY, RET
DATE OF DEATH: 05/24/1945
BURIED AT: SECTION 8 SITE 5246
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
MCCLOY, SARAH FRANCES W/O JOHN
DATE OF DEATH: 10/27/1942
BURIED AT: SECTION 8 SITE 5246
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard