WILLIAM S. "WILLIE" CRONAN
MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT
On a main street in Coronado, California, a public bench is located dedicated to the memory of William S. Cronan which carries a plaque with the following inscription.
In memory of William S. “Willie” Cronan, whose heroic actions on the morning of July 21, 1905, earned him the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. As a young boatswain’s mate, Cronan was aboard the Navy gunboat USS Bennington when it suddenly exploded while lying at anchor in San Diego Bay. Despite being hurled into the water and seriously burned, Cronan climbed back on board the sinking ship to help rescue injured and dying mates. Ultimately determined to have been caused by excessive steam pressure in the boiler, the Bennington disaster claimed the lives of 62 men. Cronan retired from the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander. He lived in Coronado for over 31 years. He is buried near the Bennington memorial at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Submitted by CDR Roy A. Mosteller, USNR (Ret)