Navy Denies Navy Cross for WWII Chaplain Lt. Thomas Michael Conway

Lt. Thomas Michael Conway Denied a Navy Cross

The Navy refuses to give Lt. Thomas Michael Conway, a WWII chaplain who died while ministering to WWII sailors during the conflict, a Navy Cross citing Navy regulations as grounds for the refusal.

According to reports, the Waterbury Veterans Memorial Committee had been seeking the honor for Lt. Thomas Michael Conway, a Catholic priest and native of Waterbury who served during the Second World War as a chaplain.

Accounts said that Lt. Thomas Michael Conway died while ministering to sailors after the ship he was boarded in was torpedoed by an enemy vessel while it was sailing on shark-infested waters.

Last year, the committee started submitting papers to the Navy in connection to their appeal for a Navy Cross for the WWII chaplain. The documents they presented included testimonies from survivors, letters from the family of Thomas Michael Conway as well as other materials.

However, the Navy repudiated some of the documentations saying that Navy regulations require that nominating soldiers for awards should be of higher rank than the nominee. Not one of the survivors of the USS Indianapolis, where Lt. Thomas Michael Conway was boarded in when he met his demise when it was torpedoed in 1945, met that said requirement.

Waterbury Veterans Memorial Committee’s Bob Dorr expressed his disappointment at the Navy’s decision stating that enlisted men seemed to be deterred from recommendations for awards.