Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army Air Corps

William Arthur Shomo

  • Rank: Major (Highest Rank: Colonel)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    82d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 71st Reconnaissance Gp., 308th Bombardment Wing,
    5th Air Force
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: January 11, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: over Luzon, Philippine Islands
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Maj. Shomo was lead pilot of a flight of two fighter planes charged with an armed photographic and strafing mission against the Aparri and Laoag airdromes. While en route to the objective, he observed an enemy twin engine bomber, protected by 12 fighters, flying about 2,500 feet above him and in the opposite direction. Although the odds were 13 to 2, Maj. Shomo immediately ordered an attack. Accompanied by his wingman he closed on the enemy formation in a climbing turn and scored hits on the leading plane of the third element, which exploded in midair. Maj. Shomo then attacked the second element from the left side of the formation and shot another fighter down in flames. When the enemy formed for counterattack, Maj. Shomo moved to the other side of the formation and hit a third fighter which exploded and fell. Diving below the bomber, he put a burst into its underside and it crashed and burned. Pulling up from this pass he encountered a fifth plane firing head on and destroyed it. He next dived upon the first element and shot down the lead plane; then diving to 300 feet in pursuit of another fighter he caught it with his initial burst and it crashed in flames. During this action his wingman had shot down three planes, while the three remaining enemy fighters had fled into a cloud bank and escaped. Maj. Shomo's extraordinary gallantry and intrepidity in attacking such a far superior force and destroying seven enemy aircraft in one action is unparalleled in the southwest Pacific area.
Medal of Honor Recipient William A. Shomo
Medal of Honor Recipient William A. Shomo
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: April 3, 1945
    Luzon, Philippine Islands, presented by Maj. Gen. Ennis C. Whitehead
  • Born: May 30, 1918, Jeannette, Westmoreland County, PA, United States
  • Died: June 25, 1990, Warren, PA, United States
  • Buried: St. Clair Cemetery (PM), Greenburg, PA

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