COMMANDER ARTHUR F. ANDERS, received what was then the Navy’s third highest decoration, the Navy Cross for his extraordinary heroism on 12 December 1937 while serving as Executive Officer of USS PANAY on the occasion of the bombing and loss of that vessel. Although severely wounded, suffering from loss of blood and unable to speak, Commander (then Lieutenant) Anders remained at his duty station, directing the fire of PANAY’s machine-gun battery and supervising abandon-ship operations. Displaying selfless concern for the safety of the ship and those on board, he gave his orders and commands in writing, and was a source of inspiration for all who observed him. His great personal valor throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
EDITORS NOTE: At that time, the Navy’s order of precedence ranked the Medal of Honor first, the Distinguished Service Cross second, and the Navy Cross third. Realizing that it’s intention to award Commander Anders the decoration rated next to the Medal of Honor had been thwarted the Navy Department on 16 March 1939 withdrew the Navy Cross and granted Commander Anders the Distinguished Service Medal. When the precedence of these two decorations was reversed in 1942, Commander Anders’ permanent right to the Navy Cross was established. In July, 1969 it was again awarded him thereby placing him onece more in the ranks of those eligible for membership in the Legion of Valor.