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LCDR Edward Henry 'Butch' O'Hare
First U.S. Navy Ace in WWII, Medal of Honor Recipient


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On February 20, 1942, flying an F4F-3 Wildcat as section leader of VF-3, Lt. O’Hare single-handedly shot down five Japanese Betty bombers attacking his carrier USS Lexington. At close range, in the face of intense enemy fire, making the most of his limited ammunition, he shot down five enemy bombers and severely damaged a sixth before they reached bomb release point over the Lexington. For this action, making him the first ace of the U.S. Navy in WWII, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and awarded the Medal of Honor. When President Roosevelt awarded the Medal of Honor (photo: O’Hare with wife Rita) he hailed him for "one of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action in the history of combat aviation." On November 26, 1943, at the age of 29, LCDR O’Hare flying an F6F-3 Hellcat on a night mission disappeared over the Gilbert islands. There is no definitive answer, if O’Hare had been brought down by friendly fire from a TBF torpedo plane or if a Japanese bomber shot him down. Lt. Commander Edward "Butch" O’Hare obviously died either from bullets or a few moments later when his aircraft struck the sea and sank. After the war, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport was named in his honor.

Tribute rendered by Andy

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