Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army Air Corps

Horace Seaver Carswell Jr.

  • Rank: Major
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    374th Bombardment Squadron, 308th Bombardment Group,
    14th Air Force
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: October 26, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Over the South China Sea, near Tungchen, South China Sea

He piloted a B-24 bomber in a one-plane strike against a Japanese convoy in the South China Sea on the night of 26 October 1944. Taking the enemy force of 12 ships escorted by at least two destroyers by surprise, he made one bombing run at 600 feet, scoring a near miss on one warship and escaping without drawing fire. He circled and, fully realizing that the convoy was thoroughly alerted and would meet his next attack with a barrage of anitaircraft fire, began a second low-level run which culminated in two direct hits on a large tanker. A hail of steel from Japanese guns riddled the bomber, knocking out two engines, damaging a third, crippling the hydraulic system, puncturing one gasoline tank, ripping uncounted holes in the aircraft, and wounding the copilot; but by a magnificent display of flying skill, Maj. Carswell controlled the plane's plunge toward the sea and carefully forced it into a halting climb in the direction of the China shore. On reaching land, where it would have been possible to abandon the staggering bomber, one of the crew discovered that his parachute had been ripped by flak and rendered useless; the pilot, hoping to cross mountainous terrain and reach a base, continued onward until the third engine failed. He ordered the crew to bail out while he struggled to maintain altitude, and, refusing to save himself, chose to remain with his comrade and attempt a crash landing. He died when the plane struck a mountainside and burned. With consummate gallantry and intrepidity, Maj. Carswell gave his life in a supreme effort to save all members of his crew. His sacrifice, far beyond that required of him, was in keeping with the traditional bravery of America's war heroes.

Medal of Honor Recipient Horace S. Carswell Jr.
Medal of Honor Recipient Horace S. Carswell Jr.
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: San Angelo, Tom Green County, Texas
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Born: July 16, 1916, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX, United States
  • Died: October 26, 1944, Asiatic Area
  • Buried: Oakwood Cemetery (PM), Fort Worth, TX, United States

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