Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army Air Corps

Joseph R. Sarnoski

Details
  • Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    65th Bombardment Squadron, 43d Bombardment Group,
    5th Air Force
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: June 16, 1943
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: over Buka area, Solomon Islands
Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. On 16 June 1943, 2d Lt. Sarnoski volunteered as bombardier of a crew on an important photographic mapping mission covering the heavily defended Buka area, Solomon Islands. When the mission was nearly completed, about 20 enemy fighters intercepted. At the nose guns, 2d Lt. Sarnoski fought off the first attackers, making it possible for the pilot to finish the plotted course. When a coordinated frontal attack by the enemy extensively damaged his bomber and seriously injured five of the crew, 2d Lt. Sarnoski though wounded, continued firing and shot down two enemy planes. A 20-millimeter shell which burst in the nose of the bomber knocked him into the catwalk under the cockpit. With indomitable fighting spirit, he crawled back to his post and kept on firing until he collapsed on his guns. Second Lt. Sarnoski, by resolute defense of his aircraft at the price of his life, made possible the completion of a vitally important mission.
Medal of Honor Recipient Joseph R. Sarnoski
Medal of Honor Recipient Joseph R. Sarnoski
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Simpson, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: Presented to his Widow
  • Born: January 30, 1915, Simpson, Lackawanna County, PA, United States
  • Died: June 16, 1943, Over Buka Area, Solomon Islands
  • Buried: National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) (MH) (A-582), Honolulu, HI, United States
  • Location of Medal: Public Library, Carbondale, PA
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