William R. Rush

A Brief Biography.

William Rees Rush - born in Philadelphia on 19 September 1857 - took the oath of office as a midshipman on 6 June 1872; graduated from the Naval Academy on 20 June 1877; and was commissioned ensign on 15 October 1881. Between that time and the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in the spring of 1898, Rush served in Ranger, Bennington, Boston and Albatross. He also received instruction in ordnance at the Washington Navy
Yard; worked in the Hydrographic Office; completed the course of instruction at the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, R.I.; and attended the Naval War College.

During the war with Spain, Rush served as a turret division commander in the armored cruiser Brooklyn, the flagship of Rear Admiral Winfield S. Schley's "Flying Squadron", during blockade operations off Cienfuegos, Cuba, and participated in the Battle of Santiago
on 3 July 1898. Detached from Brooklyn in October 1899, Rush went to sea in the battleship Massachusetts as executive officer; later commanded the gunboat Marietta; and served as executive officer in the cruiser Albany.

In the ensuing years, Rush again alternated tours of duty afloat with assignments ashore. He served at the Boston Navy Yard in the equipment department; at the Naval
War College; and traveled to the Philippines where he became captain of the yard at Cavite in February 1906. In June of 1907, he assumed command of the gunboat Wilmington, the first of a series of successive sea commands that included Ranger, Missouri, Connecticut, Hancock, Washington, and Florida, and the first division of the United States Fleet.


While commanding Florida (Battleship No.30), Rush (pictured above) was given command of the naval brigade that was sent ashore at Veracruz during the landings there in
April 1914 at the height of a diplomatic crisis between Mexico and the United States. When Rush led the brigade ashore on the 21st, he and his men met heavy resistance. Rush was wounded in the early fighting but continued to direct the efforts of his brigade. For his conduct during the landings, Capt. Rush was awarded the Medal of Honor. His citation took note of the fact that he was required to be at points of great danger in directing the officers and men of the brigade and that in doing so he exhibited "conspicuous courage, coolness, and skill."
"His responsibilities were great," the citation continued, "and he met them in a
manner worthy of commendation."

Rush was later given command of the Boston Navy Yard on 6 November 1914, a post he held until he requested retirement on 9 October 1916. With the onset of World War I, however, Rush was recalled to active duty and was awarded the Navy Cross for
"exceptionally meritorious services in a duty of great responsibility" as commandant of the Boston Navy Yard during World War I.

Relieved of all active duty on 25 July 1919, Rush subsequently lived, in retirement, in Italy., He died at Pallanza, Italy, on 2 October 1940.


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