William Trembley was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for performance above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 20th Kansas Volunteer Regiment in the Philippine Campaign of the Spanish-American War.
In face of enemy fire, CPL Trembley swam the Rio Grande de Pampanga River and fastened a rope, enabling U.S. forces to cross the river and drive the enemy from fortified positions.
Trembley enlisted into military service of the United States on April 27, 1898, as a private in Company B, 20th Regiment, Kansas Volunteer Infantry, he was mustered out October 28, 1899. After the war, he returned to Kansas City where he earned his law degree. In 1917, he received a commission as 1LT from President Wilson and spent 18 months in France as a machinegun instructor for Company C, 332nd Machine Gun Battalion.
In 1921, Trembley was appointed postmaster of Kansas City by congressman COL E. C. Little. He he received support for another term from Sen. Arthur Capper and then Rep. U. S. Guyer. He served 14 years in that position. According to the January 14, 1952 Kansas City Kansan, “Trembley served several times as president of the Twentieth Kansas Volunteers’ association, a state organization of veterans. He served as a member of the board of trustees of the Memorial building through appointment by Mayor Don C. McCombs, and had continued as a trustee for almost 19 years He was active whenever Memorial day parades or other recognitions of veterans were being arranged, and often served as grand marshal and honorary grand marshal of such parades.”
He died at 10 o’clock on January 13, 1952 at Pharr, Texas, while on winter break with his wife and sister. He was buried at Monticello Methodist Church Cemetery in Olathe, Kansas. The U.S. Army Reserve Center in Kansas City is named after White and Trembley.
- MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION
- Pvt, Co B, 20th Kansas Volunteer Inf.
- Action: At Calumpit, Luzon, Philippine Islands
- Date: April 27, 1899.
- Inducted: Kansas City, Kansas.
- Born: Johnson, Kansas.
- Issued: March 11, 1902.
- Citation: Swam the Rio Grande de Pampanga in face of the enemy’s fire and fastened a rope to the occupied trenches, thereby enabling the crossing of the river and the driving of the enemy from his fortified position.