Ens. Charles H. Hammann

Naval History & Heritage Command photo NH 79440.

Ens. Charles H. Hammann.

Charles Hazeltine Hammann was born at Baltimore, Maryland on 16 March 1892. He was appointed ensign in the Naval Reserve Flying Corps during World War I.

On 21 August 1918, while piloting a Navy seaplane near Pola, Ensign Hammann landed on the Adriatic Sea to rescue Ensign George H. Ludlow, whose aircraft had been shot down by Austro-Hungarian forces. For this exploit, he became the first airman awarded the Medal of Honor (see citation below).

Ensign Hammann lost his life while on active duty at Langley Field, Virginia, 14 June 1919.


For extraordinary heroism as a pilot of a seaplane on 21 August 1918, when with 3 other planes Ens. Hammann took part in a patrol and attacked a superior force of enemy land planes. In the course of the engagement which followed the plane of Ens. George M. Ludlow was shot down and fell in the water 5 miles off Pola. Ens. Hammann immediately dived down and landed on the water close alongside the disabled machine, where he took Ludlow on board. Although his machine was not designed for the double load to which it was subjected, and although there was danger of attack by Austrian planes, he made his way to Porto Corsini.

Sources: Naval Historical Center including Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and Home of Heroes.