From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Pryor '12

Date of birth: December 1889

Date of death: October 15, 1918

Age: 28

Naval Academy Register

John Porter Pryor was admitted to the Naval Academy from Texas on May 13, 1908 at age 17 years 5 months.

Lucky Bag

John Porter Pryor, "Jack," from Texas, is listed as "Unaccounted For."


John was lost on October 15, 1918 when he died of his wounds sustained while fighting on the Western Front in France.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His name is included on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall.

John also has a memorial in City Hall Park, El Paso, TX; it describes his loss as "died in service in France." His name is further inscribed at the St. Mary's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, Pacific Grove, California.


From the San Francisco Call on November 9, 1918 via Find A Grave:


Captain John Porter Pryor, Jr., USA, died in France on October 14 of wounds received in action, according to word received in this city today.

Captain Pryor was the son of Lieutenant John P. Pryor, USN, formerly of Pacific Grove, now stationed at the naval training station at San Pedro. His brother, F.D. Pryor, is a commander in the navy, while another brother, Private Thomas Aubrey Pryor, is in an army training camp in San Antonio, Tex.

Captain Pryor was an honor graduate of the New Mexico Military Institute with the class of 1914. After services with the American troops on the Mexican border he was sent to France in June 1917 with the first contingent of United States soldiers. In the latter part of last year he was seriously gassed and spent six weeks in the hospital.

Ordered to Berne
Following his return to duty he was ordered to Berne as assistant military attache. When his division commander heard of this order he protested, saying that "in this emergency he could not spare so efficient an officer as Captain Pryor." Pryor was then ordered to return to his company.

Captain Pryor was with the troops that struck the Germans at Montdidier on July 18 and that took Cantigny in twenty minutes, holding it against five counter assaults. Later he served in the first American army, which acting as an independent unit, wiped out the St. Michael salient in twenty-seven hours. He was continuously with this unit until he was disabled by wounds.

From the Los Angeles Times on November 10, 1918 via Find A Grave:

Interesting Career of Capt. John Porter Pryor, who died in France
Capt. John Porter Pryor, United States Army, who died of wounds in France, October 14—entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in June of 1908, from Texas, and resigned in February, 1911. He was the honor graduate at the New Mexico Military Institute with the class of 1914.

In January, 1917, he was appointed second lieutenant, United States Army, having won his appointment by competitive examination, and after three months' duty at the officers' school, Leavenworth, Kan., he was assigned to duty with the Eighteenth United States Infantry at Fort Douglas, Ariz., and served on the border until June 1917. He then went to France as captain of a machine gun company with the first American troops who did duty at the front in France, and spent last Christmas in the trenches.

He was seriously gassed and in the hospital for six weeks, when he returned to duty with his company. He was ordered to Berne as assistant military attache, but when his division commander heard of it he protested and said "in this emergency he could not spare so efficient officer as Capt. Pryor." He was ordered to return to his company.

His company was attached to the First Brigade, First Division, that struck the Huns at Montdidier, July 19, and drove them back, taking Cantigny in twenty minutes, and holding it against five counter-assault.s

He served continuously with this division until the time when he was disabled by wounds. His division was commanded by Gen. Degoutee August 9, and also by Gen. Pershing on August 27. His division also took part, on September 12, with the first American army to be mobilized in France acting as an independent unit, under Gen. Pershing, in the wiping out of the famous St. Michael salient in Lorraine, whereby 155 square miles of territory were recaptured from the Huns in twenty-seven hours, and more than 20,000 prisoners were taken in two days. He was continuously with this unit until disabled by wounds.

Capt. Pryor is the son of Lieut. and Mrs. Pryor of Pacific Grove, and the brother of Commander F.D. Pryor, United States Navy, and Thomas Aubrey Pryor, United States Army, Camp Kelly, San Antonio, Tex.

Lieut. J. P. Pryor, father of Capt. Pryor, has been stationed at the United States Naval Reserve training camp, San Pedro, for the past year.

Distinguished Service Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Captain (Infantry) John Porter Pryor, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 2d Machine-Gun Battalion, 1st Division, A.E.F., during the Meuse-Argonne offensive, near Exermont, France, October 4 - 6, 1918. Attacked by Spanish influenza, Captain Pryor refused to leave his command for medical treatment because of the heavy casualties among the officers of the battalion to which his company was attached. Captain Pryor remained with his command, participating in the heavy fighting around Exermont and Hill 240, inspiring his men through his conspicuous bravery and indomitable will until he collapsed upon the field of battle, and was carried from the field, dying while en route to the hospital.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 15 (1923)
Service: Army
Battalion: 2d Machine-Gun Battalion
Division: 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces
Rank: Captain

Note his death date doesn't support the assertion of the last sentence of this medal.


The official May 13, 1918 casualty list includes him as "wounded slightly" while in France.

A brief article in 1923 about John's father says that John was killed in battle. (He is also cited as John Porter Pryor, Jr.)

John was a member of the New Mexico Military Institute's class of 1912. In this reference he is listed as "John Porter Pryor II."

Class of 1912

John is one of 6 members of the Class of 1912 on Virtual Memorial Hall.