Pharmacist's Mate Third Class David E. Hayden



David Ehraim Hayden was born in Florence, Texas, on 2 October 1897 and, on his 20th birthday, enlisted in the U. S. Navy as a Hospital Apprentice Second Class at the Navy Recruiting Station, Houston, Texas. After completing his basic training in San Diego, California, he advanced to hospital apprentice first class. On 21 December 1917, he joined the 2d Battalion, 6th Regiment of Marines, American Expeditionary Force, in the fight against the Germans in France.

On 12 September 1918, wounded Allied soldiers had been evacuated to recaptured Thiaucourt, France, where HA1c Hayden was helping attend to them in an aid station that had been established in the local hospital. Under the impression that the town of Xammes had also been taken by the Allies, the commanding officer of the 6th Regiment ordered HA1c Hayden and three other hospital corpsmen to set up an advanced aid station there as well. Despite coming under machine-gun fire and exploding shells, the four made their way safely to Xammes and established their aid station. A few hours later, troops from the 89th Army Division arrived, having failed to advance earlier, and were surprised to find the Navy medical personnel already in the unsecured city.

Three days later, on 15 September, HA1c Hayden put his life in danger to help a fallen comrade, a young Marine named Cpl Creed, who was hit by enemy machine-gun fire while trying to cross an open field. Realizing the seriousness of Cpl Creed’s wounds, HA1c Hayden disregarded his own safety and dressed them in the field despite continuous enemy fire. He then carried the young man back to safety. For this inspiring and selfless act of bravery, he received the Medal of Honor.

Before leaving the service, he reached the rank of pharmacist’s mate third class. As a civilian, Mr. Hayden spent the next 34 years as a deputy U.S. marshal before retiring at the age of 70. He passed away following a brief illness at the age of 76 in Fresno, California, on 18 March 1974. He was laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, his awards included the Silver Star Medal, World War I Victory Medal, the Italian Croce di Guerra, and the Portuguese Cruz de Guerra.

Navy Medal of Honor recipients serving with Marine units at the time of award

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