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Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Jefferson Joseph Deblanc

Details
  • Rank: Captain (Highest Rank: Colonel)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Marine Fighting Squadron 112, Marine Air Group 11,
    1st Marine Air Wing
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: January 31, 1943
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Kolombangara Island, Solomon Islands
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as leader of a section of six fighter planes in Marine Fighting Squadron 112, during aerial operations against enemy Japanese forces off Kolombangara Island in the Solomon group, 31 January 1943. Taking off with his section as escort for a strike force of dive bombers ordered to attack Japanese surface vessels, 1st Lt. DeBlanc led his flight directly to the target area where, at 14,000 feet, our strike force encountered a large number of Japanese Zeros protecting the enemy's surface craft. In company with the other fighters, 1st Lt. DeBlanc instantly engaged the hostile planes and aggressively countered their repeated attempts to drive off our bombers, persevering in his efforts to protect the diving planes and waging fierce combat until, picking up a call for assistance from the dive bombers, under attack by enemy float planes at 1,000 feet, he broke off his engagement with the Zeros, plunged into the formation of float planes and disrupted the savage attack, enabling our dive bombers to complete their runs on the Japanese surface disposition and withdraw without further incident. Although his escort mission was fulfilled upon the safe retirement of the bombers, 1st Lt. DeBlanc courageously remained on the scene despite a rapidly diminishing fuel supply and, boldly challenging the enemy's superior number of float planes, fought a valiant battle against terrific odds, seizing the tactical advantage and striking repeatedly to destroy three of the hostile aircraft (two float planes and one Zero) and to disperse the remainder. Prepared to maneuver his damaged plane back to base, he had climbed aloft and set his course when he discovered two Zeros closing in behind. Undaunted, he opened fire and blasted both Zeros from the sky in a short, bitterly fought action which resulted in such hopeless damage to his own plane that other Zeros entering the fight set his aircraft on fire forcing him to bail out over enemy waters between Vella Lavella and enemy-held Kolombangara. A gallant officer, a superb airman, and an indomitable fighter, 1st Lt. DeBlanc had rendered decisive assistance during a critical stage of operations, and his unwavering fortitude in the face of overwhelming opposition reflects the highest credit upon himself and adds new luster to the traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

USED WITH PERMISSION, COPYRIGHT NICK DELCALZO
USED WITH PERMISSION, COPYRIGHT NICK DELCALZO
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Lockport, Lafourche Parish, Louisiana
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: December 6, 1946

    The White House, presented by Pres. Harry S. Truman

  • Born: February 15, 1921, Lockport, Lafourche Parish, LA, United States
  • Died: November 22, 2007, St. Martinville, LA, United States
  • Buried: St. Michael Cemetery, St. Martinville, LA, United States
  • Location of Medal: National WWII Museum, New Orleans, LA
 
Videos

Jefferson Deblanc: World War II Medal of Honor Recipient

Jefferson Deblanc: World War II Medal of Honor Recipient

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