Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Marine Corps

Kenneth Ambrose Walsh

  • Rank: First Lieutenant (Highest Rank: Lieutenant Colonel)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Marine Fighting Squadron 124, Marine Air Group 12,
    1st Marine Air Wing
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: August 30, 1943
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Vella Lavella & Kahili, Solomon Islands
For extraordinary heroism and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty as a pilot in Marine Fighting Squadron 124 in aerial combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area. Determined to thwart the enemy's attempt to bomb Allied ground forces and shipping at Vella Lavella on 15 August 1943, 1st Lt. Walsh repeatedly dived his plane into an enemy formation outnumbering his own division six to one and, although his plane was hit numerous times, shot down two Japanese dive bombers and one fighter. After developing engine trouble on 30 August during a vital escort mission, 1st Lt. Walsh landed his mechanically disabled plane at Munda, quickly replaced it with another, and proceeded to rejoin his flight over Kahili. Separated from his escort group when he encountered approximately 50 Japanese Zeros, he unhesitatingly attacked, striking with relentless fury in his lone battle against a powerful force. He destroyed four hostile fighters before cannon shellfire forced him to make a dead-stick landing off Vella Lavella where he was later picked up. His valiant leadership and his daring skill as a flier served as a source of confidence and inspiration to his fellow pilots and reflect the highest credit upon the U.S. Naval Service.
Medal of Honor Recipient Kenneth A. Walsh
Medal of Honor Recipient Kenneth A. Walsh
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Brooklyn, Kings County, New York
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: February 8, 1944
    The White House (Oval Office), presented by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Born: November 24, 1916, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY, United States
  • Died: July 30, 1998, Santa Anna, CA, United States
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (MH) (65-2996), Arlington, VA, United States
  • Location of Medal: National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL

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