Joined the Navy from his birth state of Maine. By November 12, 1942 was serving as a lieutenant commander on the United States Ship San Francisco (California-38). On that day, the San Francisco was heavily damaged during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal and began taking on water.
Schonland, as the damage control officer, worked through the night to stop the flooding and save the ship.
His actions during this encounter demonstrated his acumen. The ship had taken 85 hits in excess of five inches just above the water line and was leaking badly.
At a key point during the effort to keep it from sinking, Schonland realized that the pumps for the second deck were inadequate to remove the water, but that the vessel had much higher capacity bilge pumps. So he called down to the engine room to arrange for all the bilge pumps to be pumping at full capacity, and the crew there ready for an immense amount of water.
He then opened the hatches to the lower decks.
This served the additional purpose of lowering the center of gravity of the ship, thus increasing its stability during the effort to save lieutenant He reached the rank of rear admiral before leaving the Navy. He died November 13, 1984 at age 84 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington County, Virginia.
His grave can be found in section 7-A, grave 168, not far from the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Medal of Honor citation Other honors.