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September 22, 1997

Opinion

Oscar Roloff's article on page 12 of the Sept. 15 issue.....

  Oscar Roloff's article on page 12 of the Sept. 15 issue, concerning Woodinville's unappreciated Medal of Honor winner, Demitri Corahorgi (later Dan Corey,) was most interesting. In fairness, however, it should also have included the names: Frederick Behne, Heinrich Behnke, Patrick Francis Bresnahan, Edward Floyd, and Johannes J. Johannessen. Why? Because all six received the Medal of Honor for the incident on board the U.S.S. "Iowa" on Jan. 25, 1905 (not Jan. 3, 1904 per the article.) The award was for "...extraordinary heroism at the time of the blowing out of the manhole plate of Boiler D on board (the "Iowa") on 25 January, 1905."
  
   Multiple awards for the same incident were common in those days when the number of medals types was very limited. The Medal of Honor was awarded for such things as trying to save people from drowning, and one was even awarded for fighting a fire in the town of Coquimbo, Chile, in 1909!
  
   The complete list of Medal of Honor winners was published by the Gov't Printing Office for the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the U.S. Senate in 1979. It was not until the First World War that the medal was awarded exclusively for combat heroism, and became the highest of a number of different medals that could be awarded.
  
   The official "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships" gives the Iowa's history from its 1896 launching until its destruction by practice naval gun fire in Panama in 1923. It includes the victory at Santiago Bay in the Spanish-American war in 1898 where it sunk a number of Spanish ships. The 1905 boiler incident is not included.
  
   The article also mentions medal-winner Don Ross, of Port Orchard, now deceased, who provided information on the award. The Ross story is far more interesting. His award was for multiple acts of bravery on the battleship "Nevada"---on December 7, 1941!
  
   Walter W. Maybee
   Bothell