Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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World War II - U.S. Army Air Corps

David R. Kingsley

Details
  • Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    341st Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group,
    15th Air Force
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: June 23, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Ploesti, Rumania
Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, 23 June 1944 near Ploesti, Rumania, while flying as bombardier of a B-17 type aircraft. On the bomb run 2d Lt. Kingsley's aircraft was severely damaged by intense flak and forced to drop out of formation, but the pilot proceeded over the target and 2d Lt. Kingsley successfully dropped his bombs, causing severe damage to vital installations. The damaged aircraft, forced to lose altitude and to lag behind the formation, was aggressively attacked by three ME-109 aircraft, causing more damage to the aircraft and severely wounding the tail gunner in the upper arm. The radio operator and engineer notified 2d Lt. Kingsley that the tail gunner had been wounded and that assistance was needed to check the bleeding. Second Lt. Kingsley made his way back to the radio room, skillfully applied first aid to the wound, and succeeded in checking the bleeding. The tail gunner's parachute harness and heavy clothes were removed and he was covered with blankets, making him as comfortable as possible. Eight ME-109 aircraft again aggressively attacked 2d Lt. Kingsley's aircraft and the ball turret gunner was wounded by 20-mm shell fragments. He went forward to the radio room to have 2d Lt. Kingsley administer first aid. A few minutes later when the pilot gave the order to prepare to bail out, 2d Lt. Kingsley immediately began to assist the wounded gunners in putting on their parachute harness. In the confusion, the tail gunner's harness, believed to have been damaged, could not be located in the bundle of blankets and flying clothes which had been removed from the wounded men. With utter disregard for his own means of escape, 2d Lt. Kingsley unhesitatingly removed his parachute harness and adjusted it to the wounded tail gunner. Due to the extensive damage caused by the accurate and concentrated 20-mm fire by the enemy aircraft the pilot gave the order to bail out, as it appeared that the aircraft would disintegrate at any moment. Second Lt. Kingsley aided the wounded men in bailing out and when last seen by the crewmembers he was standing on the bomb bay catwalk. The aircraft continued to fly on automatic pilot for a short distance, then crashed and burned. His body was later found in the wreckage. Second Lt. Kingsley by his gallant and heroic action was directly responsible for saving the life of the wounded gunner.
Medal of Honor Recipient David R. Kingsley
Medal of Honor Recipient David R. Kingsley
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: February 1945
    Portland, Oregon presented by Major Gen. Ralph P. Cousins to his Brother, Thomas E. Kingsley
  • Born: June 27, 1918, Portland, Multnomah County, OR, United States
  • Died: June 23, 1944, near Polesti, Rumania
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (MH) 34-4786), Arlington, VA, United States
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