Honors Forgotten Hero
Medal of Honor recipient Chief
Watertender Emil Fredreksen
was given proper military honors
during a ceremony at the Evergreen
Washelli Cemetery in Seattle March
25, almost 70 years after his death.
A Navy veteran, Fredreksen died
in 1950 at the age of 83. But with
no known next of kin, he was
buried with no ceremony or headstone and long forgotten, according to a Navy News Service report.
In January, however, a member
of the Medal of Honor Historical
Society tracked down his location
and cemetery workers uncovered the temporary marker where
Fredreksen was buried.
During the service, which was
open to the public, Fredreksen
received burial honors — including a 21-gun salute from Sailors
assigned to Naval Base Kitsap
Funeral Honors Detail — and a
headstone was placed upon his
grave. Retired Adm. Thomas B.
Hayward, a former chief of naval
operations and now an advisory board member with the Navy
League’s Seattle Council, was
a keynote speaker at the ceremony. Seattle Council Advisory
Board Member retired Rear Adm.
Herb Bridge also attended, as
did National Directors Tom and
A native of Denmark, Fredreksen
immigrated to the United States
and enlisted in the Navy in 1897
at the age of 31. His service record
encompassed time on more than 20
ships, most notably USS Bennington,
Gunboat 4, according to the Navy
On July 21, 1905, the ship was
preparing to sail from San Diego
to Panama when one of its boilers
exploded due to an over-pressured
valve, killing 66 crew members and
severely injuring 46. Fredreksen,
along with 10 others, were awarded
rare peacetime Medals of Honor for
“extraordinary heroism displayed
in the line of duty” in the aftermath
of the explosion.
Fredreksen’s career eventually
brought him to Washington state
where, after 33 years of service,
he would retire in 1930 from the
Naval Reserve, the Navy News
Service reported. He now is the
seventh Medal of Honor recipient to be buried at the Evergreen
According to the Kitsap Sun,
the whereabouts of 376 of 3,471
Medal of Honor recipients remain
At USMMA Dinner
Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr.,
commander of U.S. Pacific Command
(USPACOM), was the guest speaker at the U.S. Merchant Marine
Academy’s (USMMA’s) 28th annual
2016 Battle Standard Dinner at the
Kings Point, N. Y., campus April 11.
The event honors the memories of
the 142 Cadet-Midshipmen who
lost their lives during World War
II, as well as recent graduates who
lost their lives serving in support
of Operation Iraqi Freedom and
Operation Enduring Freedom.
“It was a great honor to host
Adm. Harris at this important
event that highlights the vital role
of the academy and our graduates
in peace and war,” Superintendent
Rear Adm. James A. Helis, USMS,
said in a release from the USMMA.
“USPACOM’s enormous area of
about half the Earth’s surface,
shows how essential Merchant
Marine officers are for a vital maritime industry and strong flexible
Navy League National President
Skip Witunski was among the several hundred dinner attendees, as
was Maritime Administrator Paul
N. “Chip” Jaenichen.
Adm. Harry B. Harris, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, speaks to U.S.
Merchant Marine Cadet-Midshipmen and guests during the U.S. Merchant
Marine Academy Battle Standard Dinner April 11 at Kings Point, N.Y.