Ceremony unveiling honors William Pinckney

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The Rotary Club of Beaufort will hold a ceremony unveiling William Pinckney’s new headstone featuring the Navy Cross, the second highest award for combat valor, at Beaufort National Cemetery on Saturday, Feb. 10.

Recently, Beaufort historian Dr. Larry Rowland discovered William Pinckney’s headstone at Beaufort National Cemetery did not have the Navy Cross among his engraved awards. Cemetery superintendent Sonny Peppers worked to have this corrected, and now the new headstone will be unveiled while Dr. Rowland recounts the history and heroism of William Pinckney (1915-1976). The public is invited to celebrate one of the nation’s most remarkable heroes.

During WWII, 75 years ago on October 26, 1942, William Pinckney served as Navy Cook 3rd Class on the USS Enterprise when he distinguished himself at the Battle of Santa Cruz as the Japanese bombed his ship twice and he heroically saved the lives of shipmates while severely injured. For his actions, he was awarded the Navy Cross, our nation’s second highest honor for combat valor. Pinckney was one of only four African Americans to be awarded the Navy Cross during World War II.

He never spoke of the medals or awards during his lifetime and would just say that he was, “Proud to serve” when asked about his military career. Later in 2004, the U.S. Navy would commission a destroyer in his name with the same motto as his words.

For more information, please contact Jim Weiskopf at jweiskopf@aol.com.


Saturday, February 10, 2018
11:00 A.M.
Beaufort National Cemetery
1601 Boundary Street Beaufort, SC 29902
Ceremony in Section 33 of Cemetery

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