Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army Air Corps

Thomas Buchanan McGuire Jr.

  • Rank: Major
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    475th Fighter Group,
    5th Air Force
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: December 25 - 26, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: over Luzon, Philippine Islands

He fought with conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity over Luzon, Philippine Islands. Voluntarily, he led a squadron of 15 P-38s as top cover for heavy bombers striking Mabalacat Airdrome, where his formation was attacked by 20 aggressive Japanese fighters. In the ensuing action he repeatedly flew to the aid of embattled comrades, driving off enemy assaults while himself under attack and at times outnumbered three to one, and even after his guns jammed, continued the fight by forcing a hostile plane into his wingman's line of fire. Before he started back to his base he had shot down three Zeros. The next day he again volunteered to lead escort fighters on a mission to strongly defended Clark Field. During the resultant engagement he again exposed himself to attacks so that he might rescue a crippled bomber. In rapid succession he shot down one aircraft, parried the attack of four enemy fighters, one of which he shot down, singlehandedly engaged three more Japanese, destroying one, and then shot down still another, his 38th victory in aerial combat. On 7 January 1945, while leading a voluntary fighter sweep over Los Negros Island, he risked an extremely hazardous maneuver at low altitude in an attempt to save a fellow flyer from attack, crashed, and was reported missing in action. With gallant initiative, deep and unselfish concern for the safety of others, and heroic determination to destroy the enemy at all costs, Maj. McGuire set an inspiring example in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.

Medal of Honor Recipient Thomas B. McGuire Jr.
Medal of Honor Recipient Thomas B. McGuire Jr.
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Sebring, Highlands County, Florida
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: May 8, 1946

    Presented by Gen. George C. Kenney to his widow, at City Hall in Paterson, New Jersey,

  • Born: August 1, 1920, Ridgewood, Bergen County, NJ, United States
  • Died: January 7, 1945, over Los Negros Island, Admirality Group
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (MH) (11-426-SH), Arlington, VA, United States
  • Location of Medal: McGuire Air Force Base, Burlington County, NJ ; National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH

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