Boone - born in St. Clair, Pennsylvania, on 29 August 1889 - graduated from
the Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy in 1909, and attended Hehnemann Medical College,
Philadelphia, Pa., graduating in 1913. Appointed a lieutenant (junior grade)
in the Medical Corps' reserve component in April 1914, Boone underwent
instruction at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Naval Hospital from July to September
1914 and, then, at the Naval Medical School in Washington, D.C., before
transferring to the regular Navy in May 1915.
Next assigned to the Naval Training Station, Norfolk, Va., Boone served there
until August 1915 and then was sent to Haiti for duty with the Marine Corps
Expeditionary Forces. While in that troubled Caribbean country, Boone saw
combat duty with the marines and, for his performance of duty under fire,
received a personal commendation from Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the
Recalled from Haiti in June 1916, Boone reported on board Wyoming (Battleship
No. 32), the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet, that September and was serving
in her when the United States entered World War I that spring. Detached from
that battleship in the summer of 1917, Boone joined the 6th Marines at
Quantico, Va., as they prepared for service "beyond the seas."
While serving with that regiment in the vicinity of Vierzey, France, on 19
July 1918, Boone proved that, although the men of the Medical Corps carried
neither bayonets nor grenades, they endured the same privations and dangers
as the marines whom they served. After concentrated machine gun fire had left
heavy casualties among the leathernecks, Boone left the comparative shelter
of a ravine and braved both enemy fire and a heavy mist of poison gas to
apply dressings and render first aid to the wounded. Exhausting his supplies
in the process, Boone then braved more explosive and gas shells to obtain
additional dressings and supplies and returned with a motorcycle sidecar
load. After exhausting his stock of first-aid supplies again, Boone performed
a second resupply run under fire as well. For his actions on this day,
Surgeon Boone received the Medal of Honor.
First serving as Battalion and Regimental Surgeon with the 6th Marines, Boone
later served as Assistant Division Surgeon with the 2d Army Division,
American Expeditionary Forces, participating in the 6th Marines' operations
in battle south of Verdun, in the Aisne-Marne campaign, at St. Mihiel,
Champagne, and in the Meuse-Argonne. After the armistice on 11 November 1918,
Boone accompanied the Army of Occupation as it took control of the Rhine
Following his return from Europe to the United States in February 1919, Boone
served in Washington, first in the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and then as
the Director of the Bureau of Naval Affairs, American Red Cross, from March
1919 unti1 May 1922, after which time he reported for duty as medical officer
on board the presidential yacht Mayflower. For the next seven years, Boone
served as presidential physician, attending to Presidents Warren G. Harding
and Calvin Coolidge. Then, between March 1929 and April 1933, he served as
Physician to the White House during the presidency of Herbert Hoover. During
his assignment, Boone served in the temporary rank of captain with the
enactment of a congressional statute that pertained to the legal
establishment of that office.
Completing a general postgraduate course at the Naval Medical School,
Washington, D.C., in May 1933, Capt. Boone joined the hospital ship Relief
(AH-1) and served as Chief of Medicine in that ship until June 1935. Upon the
completion of shore duty at the Naval Hospital, San Diego, in August 1936, he
served as force medical officer for the Fleet Marine Force based at San
Diego, Calif., into the spring of 1938. Subsequently, he again went to sea,
this time as senior medical officer in the carrier Saratoga (CV-3).
Later assuming duties as executive officer, and still later, commanding
officer, of the Naval Dispensary in Long Beach, Calif., Boone became force
medical officer on the staff of the Commander, Base Force, in the flagship
Argonne (AG-31), serving in that billet until August 1940. From December of
that year until April 1943, Boone served as senior medical officer at the
Naval Air Station, San Diego, before filling the billet of medical
officer-in-charge of the Naval Hospital, Seattle, Wash.
Promoted to Commodore in April 1945, Boone joined the staff of Admira1
William F. Halsey, Commander, 3d Fleet. After the end of hostilities with
Japan, Halsey selected Boone as one of the three officers assigned the task
of liberating Allied prisoners of war in the former enemy homeland before the
actual military occupation. He also represented the Naval Medical Corps at
the surrender ceremonies that took place on board the battleship Missouri
(BB-63) in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945.
After a brief spell of temporary duty in Washington, D.C., with the Bureau of
Medicine and Surgery, Commodore Boone received the assignment of District
Medical Officer, 11th Naval District (San Diego) and,in April 1946, became
Inspector of Medical Department Activities, Pacific Coast, with additional
duty as Medical Officer, Western Sea Frontier. From May 1946 to June 1947, he
served as medical advisor to the Federal Coal Mines Administrator and as
director of the medical survey of the coal industry. In early 1948, he became
the executive secretary of the Secretary of Defense's Committee on Medical
and Hospital Services of the Armed Forces. Simultaneously, Boone acted as
secretary of the Committee on Federal Medical Services of the First
Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government,
generally known as the "Hoover Commission." Boone then served as
Chief of the Joint Plans and Action Division, Office of Medical Services,
Department of Defense. Ordered detached in March 1950 to serve as General
Inspector of Medical Department Activities, Boone later received personal
orders from Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, the Chief of Naval Operations, to
undertake a special mission to Korea and Japan during the Korean War.
Unfortunately, physical disabiIity incapacitated him for the task and forced
him to retire on 1 December 1950. Less than four months later, though, Boone
was appointed Chief Medical Director of the Veteran's Administration,
assuming that office on 1 March 1951.
Vice Admiral Boone died at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Md., on 2
He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, VAdm Boone received the Distinguished
Service Cross, the Silver Star Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze
Star Medal with Combat “V,” the Purple Heart Medal with two Oak Leaf
Clusters, Haitian Campaign Medal, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, the
World War I Victory Medal with six battle stars, the Army of Occupation in
Germany Medal, a Letter of Commendation, the Navy Commendation Medal, the
American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
Medal with two bronze stars, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II
Victory Medal, the Navy Occupation Campaign Medal, the Korean Service Medal,
the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the
Korean Presidential Unit Citation Badge. He also received the French Officer
of the Legion of Honor, the Croix de Guerre with two palms, the Order of the
Fourragere (three awards), and the Gold Medal of Honor and the Italian War
Cross with Diploma.
Congressional Medal of Honor:
BOONE, JOEL THOMPSON:
Rank and Organization: Lieutenant (Medical Corps), U.S. Navy.
Place and Date: Vicinity Vierzy, France, 19 July 1918. Entered Service At:
St. Clair, Pa. Born: 2 August 1889, St. Clair, Pa.
For extraordinary heroism, conspicuous gallantry, and intrepidity while
serving with the 6th Regiment, U.S. Marines, in actual conflict with the
enemy. With absolute disregard for personal safety, ever conscious and
mindful of the suffering fallen, Surg. Boone, leaving the shelter of a
ravine, went forward onto the open field where there was no protection and
despite the extreme enemy fire of all calibers, through a heavy mist of gas,
applied dressings and first aid to wounded marines. This occurred southeast
of Vierzy, near the cemetery, and on the road south from that town. When the
dressings and supplies had been exhausted, he went through a heavy barrage of
large-caliber shells, both high explosive and gas, to replenish these
supplies, returning quickly with a sidecar load, and administered them in
saving the lives of the wounded. A second trip, under the same conditions and
for the same purpose, was made by Surgeon Boone later that day.
Distinguished Service Cross:
BOONE, JOEL THOMPSON:
Lieutenant (Medical Corps), U.S. Navy
6th Regiment (Marines)(Attached), 2d Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: June 9 - 10 & 25, 1918
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Joel Thompson Boone,
Lieutenant (Medical Corps), U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action in
the Bois-de-Belleau, France, June 9-10 and 25, 1918. On two successive days
the regimental aid station in which he was working was struck by heavy shells
and in each case demolished. Ten men were killed and a number of wounded were
badly hurt by falling timbers and stone.
Under these harassing conditions this officer continued without cessation his
treatment of the wounded, superintending their evacuation, and setting an
inspiring example of heroism to the officers and men serving under him. On
June 25, 1918, Surgeon Boone followed the attack by one battalion against
enemy machine-gun positions in the Bois-de-Belleau, establishing advanced
dressing stations under continuous shell fire.