Thomas Joseph Kersey (b. 1847 – d. April 16, 1888) was a United States Navy sailor and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.
Born in 1847 in St. John's, Newfoundland, Kersey immigrated to the United States and was living in Everett, Massachusetts, when he joined the Navy. By July 26, 1876, he was serving as an ordinary seaman on the USS Plymouth. On that day, he rescued a crewmate from drowning at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. For this action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor two weeks later, on August 9. Two other Plymouth sailors, Landsman William Corey and Seaman Charles Gidding, attempted to rescue a shipmate from drowning on the same day and also received the medal.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1847, St. Johns, Newfoundland. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 215, 9 August 1876.
Kersey's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
Serving on board the U.S.S. Plymouth at the Navy Yard, New York, 26 July 1876, Kersey displayed bravery and presence of mind in rescuing from drowning one of the crew of that vessel.
Kersey died on April 16, 1888, at age 40 or 41 and was buried at St. Mary's Cemetery in Newport.