December 7, 1941
Orders for Little Rock (Pulaski County) native Rear Admiral Corydon McAlmont Wassell to leave San Francisco for a new post in the Philippines were changed because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The ship was rerouted to Java in the Netherlands East India (now Indonesia). In Java, while treating wounded servicemen from battleships badly damaged by Japanese forces, Wassell elected to remain there with non-ambulatory patients who were denied transport on evacuation ships. His courage and leadership led to his decoration with the Navy Cross and recognition by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in one of his fireside chats. His leadership there made him one of the first national heroes of World War II.