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America's 
Most Decorated Military Heroes

Theodore Hugh Winters, Jr.

Commander
U.S. Navy

March 11, 1913 - April 25, 2008

Born: Society Hill, South Carolina
Appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis from South Carolina, and graduated, Class of 1935.

Home Of Record: Society Hill, South Carolina

Combat Service: WWII

Awards:

2@ Navy Crosses (WWII), 3@ Silver Stars (WWII), Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Purple Heart, Asiatic Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp (Bombing Squadron 5, U.S.S. Yorktown), European-African-Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal

 

(First Award)
Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Theodore Hugh Winters, Jr. (0-74935), Commander, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane and Leader of a Group of Fighter Planes in Fighting Squadron NINETEEN (VF-19) embarked from the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-16), in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Battle for Leyte Gulf, on 24 October 1944. Skillfully leading his group through difficult weather conditions, Commander Winters expertly directed the attacking planes to effect maximum damage on major Japanese Fleet units, seriously crippling two battleships and four cruisers. On the same mission, he boldly flew through intense anti-aircraft fire at below-cloud-level to obtain valuable strategic information concerning Japanese forces for his Task Force Commander. By his brilliant airmanship, indomitable courage and inspiring leadership, Commander Winters contributed materially to the success of this mission. His dauntless fighting spirit and steadfast devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.
Commander, 1st Carrier Task Force, Pacific: Serial 0764 (October 30, 1944)


(Second Award)
Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross to Theodore Hugh Winters, Jr. (0-74935), Commander, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Strike and Target Coordinator and Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron NINETEEN (VF-19) embarked from the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-16), while assigned to strike major Japanese Fleet Units on 25 October 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, in the Philippine Islands. Flying low through intense anti-aircraft fire with an aircraft damaged by anti-aircraft fire, he so directed the attacks that one large and one medium aircraft carrier were sunk and then directed our cruisers in safety to another aircraft carrier which was still afloat in damaged condition and thus enabled them to sink it. Commander Winters' valiant leadership, inspiring courage, daring tactics, and fearless devotion to duty in the face of hazardous flying conditions reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Commander, 1st Carrier Task Force, Pacific: Serial 0765 (October 30, 1944)

 

(First Award)
Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Theodore Hugh Winters, Jr. (0-74935), Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Executive Officer of Fighting Squadron NINE (VF-9), embarked from the U.S.S. RANGER (CV-4), during the occupation of French Morocco, during the period from 8 to 11 November 1942. Leading three flights of planes in one day, Lieutenant Commander Winters contributed materially to the destruction of fourteen bombers on the ground at the Rabat-Sale airdrome and seven hostile aircraft at Port Lyautey, and to the silencing of an enemy battery near El Hank. Although his plane was hit and he was slightly wounded, he bravely resumed his flight missions without interruption, leading his section in an attack which destroyed twenty hostile planes at Mediouna Airdrome. In the vicinity of Fedala, while supporting our landing operations, he bombed enemy vehicles and ammunition and, on the following day, led five planes in a daring low-altitude raid on hostile destroyers in Casablanca harbor. His superb flying skill was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


(Second Award)
Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star Medal to Theodore Hugh Winters, Jr. (0-74935), Commander, U.S. Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron NINETEEN (VF-19) embarked from the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-16), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Philippine Islands Area, from 10 to 13 October 1944. Intercepting a hostile twin-engined craft flying directly toward his Task Force on 12 October, Commander Winters promptly engaged the enemy in fierce combat to shoot him from the sky in flames. Two days later when his group encountered numerically superior enemy fighters having altitude advantage, he immediately dived to the assistance of four friendly planes and, despite the overwhelming odds, attacked the Japanese aircraft with deadly and accurate counterfire and, although his own plane was set on fire and severely damaged, succeeded in annihilating two of the hostile planes, probably another and routing the remainder. Despite hazardous cloud formations in mountainous territory and fiercely opposing anti-aircraft fire during a mission the following day, Commander Winters courageously sought out and marked a target by a heavy strafing attack, enabling our forces to make an effective dive bombing strike upon a dangerous and highly camouflaged installation. His superb airmanship, aggressiveness and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Commander, 1st Carrier Task Force, Pacific: Serial 0765 (November 30, 1944)

 


(Third Award)
Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Silver Star Medal to Theodore Hugh Winters, Jr. (0-74935), Commander, U.S. Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as Target Coordinator and Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron NINETEEN (VF-19) embarked from the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-16), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of the Philippine Islands on 5 November 1944. Sighting an enemy heavy cruiser and destroyer in Manila Bay, Commander Winters directed skillful attacks against both enemy vessels and personally executed a series of strafing runs over the destroyer in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire, thereby contributing in large measure to the sinking of the ships. Subsequently intercepting a group of enemy fighter planes, he closed with the hostile aircraft and, pressing home his attacks with determination, personally shot down one of the enemy planes and assisted in breaking up of a concentrated attack. His airmanship and devotion to duty throughout these hazardous operations were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Commander, 1st Carrier Task Force, Pacific: (March 20, 1945)

 

Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Theodore Hugh Winters, Jr. (0-74935), Commander, U.S. Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as leader of a Fighter Group in Fighting Squadron NINETEEN (VF-19), attached to the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-16), during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Philippine Islands, on 12 September 1944. As leader of a fighter sweep against enemy aircraft and aircraft installations in the Philippine Islands, with great skill, Commander Winters directed the attacks upon two fields, and personally shot down three enemy planes. His fighter sweep shot down thirty-eight enemy planes, and destroyed at least forty on the ground. His leadership, courage and skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

 

Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Air Medal to Theodore Hugh Winters, Jr. (0-74935), Commander, U.S. Navy, for meritorious achievement in aerial flight as Strike Leader in Fighting Squadron NINETEEN (VF- 19), attached to the U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-16), during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Philippine Islands, on 13 September 1944. While leading a strike against enemy installations, Commander Winters observed to airmen forced down on an enemy-controlled island. Leading four rescue seaplanes to the locality on the following day, he flew low over the island and directed the seaplane to a landing, thereby insuring the rescue of the downed airmen. His courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

 

 

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