b. 15/09/1901 Harrisburg, Illinois. d. 23/11/1986 Livermore, California.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 23/05/1939 at sea after the sinking of the USS Squalus.
William Badders was born in Harrisburg, Illinois, on September 15, 1901. He enrolled in the U.S. Naval Reserve in August 1918 and transferred to the regular Navy in December 1919. Later trained as a diver, Badders was awarded the Navy Cross for “extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty” during the salvage of USS S-51 (SS-162) in 1926. He was designated a Master Diver in April 1931 and received commendations for his diving work in salvaging USS S-4 (SS-109) in 1928 and the Japanese steamship Kaku Maru in 1932, and for clearing the propeller of USS Bittern (AM-36) at sea in 1933.
Chief Machinist’s Mate Badders was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the rescue of survivors of USS Squalus (SS-192) and subsequent salvage of that submarine in 1939. He was Senior Member of the rescue chamber crew and served as a diver during the salvage effort. He received his Medal of Honor on 19 January 1940 in Washington DC from the Secretary of the Navy, Charles Edison. He transferred to the Fleet Reserve in March 1940. He lived a long life with his wife, Lavinia, and two children. He died in November 1986 at age 85 and was buried in San Francisco National Cemetery.
For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as a Diver with the Submarine and Rescue Salvage Unit, U.S.S. Falcon, during the rescue and salvage operations following the sinking of the U.S.S. Squalus on 1939-05-13. During the rescue operations, Chief Machinist’s Mate Badders, as senior member of the rescue chamber crew, made the last extremely hazardous trip of the rescue chamber to attempt to rescue any possible survivors in the flooded after portion of the Squalus. He was fully aware of the great danger involved in that if he and his assistant became incapacitated, there was no way in which either could be rescued. During the salvage operations, Chief Machinist’s Mate Badders made important and difficult dives under the most hazardous conditions.
BURIAL LOCATION: SAN FRANCISCO NATIONAL CEMETERY, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.
SECTION A, SITE 788-A.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.