Coxswain Nicholas Erickson
Award: Veterans' Hall of Fame
Nicholas Erickson, a Coxswain in the United States Navy, is among the most famous veterans in Rockland County history. In recognition of the heroism and unwavering courage he displayed during the Spanish-American War, Mr. Erickson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on July 7, 1899.
On May 11, 1898, Mr. Erickson exposed himself to heavy fire while cutting telegraph cables from a small, open boat in Cienfuegos Bay, Cuba. It was this superlative endeavor that set him apart from his fellow comrades and led him to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Mr. Erickson’s Medal of Honor Citation reads, “On board the U.S.S. Marblehead during the operation of cutting the cable leading from Cienfuegos, Cuba, on May 11, 1898. Facing the heavy fire of the enemy, Erickson set an example of extraordinary bravery and coolness throughout this action.”
Upon his return from the war, Mr. Erickson worked at the ammunition depot at Iona Island. It was there that many returning Spanish-American War Veterans found employment with the federal government, making naval ammunition for future wars. Mr. Erickson passed away at Lenox Hill Hospital on June 21, 1931, and was laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.