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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Navy

David McCampbell

  • Rank: Commander (Highest Rank: Captain)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Air Group 15,
    U.S.S. Essex
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: June 19 - October 25, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Battle of the Philippine Sea & Battle of Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commander, Air Group 15, during combat against enemy Japanese aerial forces in the first and second battles of the Philippine Sea. An inspiring leader, fighting boldly in the face of terrific odds, Comdr. McCampbell led his fighter planes against a force of 80 Japanese carrier-based aircraft bearing down on our fleet on 19 June 1944. Striking fiercely in valiant defense of our surface force, he personally destroyed seven hostile planes during this single engagement in which the outnumbering attack force was utterly routed and vitually annihilated. During a major fleet engagement with the enemy on 24 October, Comdr. McCampbell, assisted by but one plane, intercepted and daringly attacked a formation of 60 hostile land-based craft approaching our forces. Fighting desperately but with superb skill against such overwhelming airpower, he shot down nine Japanese planes and, completely disorganizing the enemy group, forced the remainder to abandon the attack before a single aircraft could reach the fleet. His great personal valor and indomitable spirit of aggression under extremely perilous combat conditions reflect the highest credit upon Comdr. McCampbell and the U.S. Naval Service.

Medal of Honor Recipient David McCampbell
Medal of Honor Recipient David McCampbell
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: January 10, 1945

    The White House, presented by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • Born: January 16, 1910, Bessemer, Jefferson County, AL, United States
  • Died: June 30, 1996, West Palm Beach, FL, United States
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (MH) (60-3150), Arlington, VA, United States
  • Location of Medal: International Swimming Hall of Fame, Fort Lauderdale, FL ; International Museum of WWII, Natick, MA

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