*FLEMING, RICHARD E.
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S.
Marine Corps Reserve. Born: 2 November 1917, St. Paul, Minn. Appointed from:
For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty as
Flight Officer, Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241, during action against enemy Japanese
forces in the battle of Midway on 4 and 5 June 1942. When his Squadron Commander was shot
down during the initial attack upon an enemy aircraft carrier, Capt. Fleming led the
remainder of the division with such fearless determination that he dived his own plane to
the perilously low altitude of 400 feet before releasing his bomb. Although his craft was
riddled by 179 hits in the blistering hail of fire that burst upon him from Japanese
fighter guns and antiaircraft batteries, he pulled out with only 2 minor wounds inflicted
upon himself. On the night of 4 June, when the squadron commander lost his way and became
separated from the others, Capt. Fleming brought his own plane in for a safe landing at
its base despite hazardous weather conditions and total darkness. The following day, after
less than 4 hours' sleep, he led the second division of his squadron in a coordinated
glide-bombing and dive-bombing assault upon a Japanese battleship. Undeterred by a fateful
approach glide, during which his ship was struck and set afire, he grimly pressed home his
attack to an altitude of 500 feet, released his bomb to score a near miss on the stern of
his target, then crashed to the sea in flames. His dauntless perseverance and unyielding
devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.