Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

  • Filter Recipient Database here
    • Service Branch
    • Conflict / Era
    • Additional Filters

World War II - U.S. Navy

Bruce Avery van Voorhis

  • Rank: Lieutenant Commander (Highest Rank: Commander (posthumous promotion))
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Bombing Squadron 102
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: July 6, 1943
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Greenwich Island, Solomon Islands

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as squadron commander of Bombing Squadron 102 and as plane commander of a PB4Y-1 patrol bomber operating against the enemy on Japanese-held Greenwich Island during the battle of the Solomon Islands, 6 July 1943. Fully aware of the limited chance of surviving an urgent mission, voluntarily undertaken to prevent a surprise Japanese attack against our forces, Lt. Comdr. Van Voorhis took off in total darkness on a perilous 700-mile flight without escort or support. Successful in reaching his objective despite treacherous and varying winds, low visibility, and difficult terrain, he fought a lone but relentless battle under fierce antiaircraft fire and overwhelming aerial opposition. Forced lower and lower by pursuing planes, he coolly persisted in his mission of destruction. Abandoning all chances of a safe return, he executed six bold, ground-level attacks to demolish the enemy's vital radio station, installations, antiaircraft guns and crews with bombs and machine-gun fire, and to destroy one fighter plane in the air and three on the water. Caught in his own bomb blast, Lt. Comdr. Van Voorhis crashed into the lagoon off the beach, sacrificing himself in a singlehanded fight against almost insuperable odds, to make a distinctive contribution to our continued offensive in driving the Japanese from the Solomons and, by his superb daring, courage, and resoluteness of purpose, enhanced the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Medal of Honor Recipient Bruce A. van Voorhis
Medal of Honor Recipient Bruce A. van Voorhis
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Nevada
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: August 1, 1946

    In Washington, D.C., by Navy Secretary James Forrestal to his widow.

  • Born: January 29, 1908, Aberdeen, Grays Harbor County, WA, United States
  • Died: July 6, 1943, off Greenwich Island, Solomon Islands
  • Buried: Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery (MH) (one of six in a group burial) (79-279-280-281), St. Louis, MO, United States

Questions? For More Information Contact Us!