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John Louis Jerstad

Date of birth: February 12, 1918
Date of death: August 01, 1943
Burial location: Neuvile-En-Condroz, Belgium
Place of Birth: Wisconsin, Racine
Home of record: Racine Wisconsin
Status: KIA

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Medal of Honor

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Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Major (Air Corps) John Louis Jerstad, United States Army Air Forces, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Headquarters, 93d Bombardment Group (H), Ninth Air Force (Detached from the Eighth air Force) in action on 1 August 1943. Major Jerstad served as pilot of the lead aircraft in his group in a daring low-level attack against enemy oil refineries and installations at Ploesti, Rumania. Although he had completed more than his share of missions and was no longer connected with this group, so high was his conception of duty that he volunteered to lead the formation in the correct belief that his participation would contribute materially to success in this attack. Major Jerstad led the formation into attack with full realization of the extreme hazards involved and despite withering fire from heavy and light anti-aircraft guns. Three miles from the target his airplane was hit, badly damaged, and set on fire. Ignoring the fact that he was flying over a field suitable for a forced landing, he kept on the course. After the bombs of his aircraft were released on the target, the fire in his ship became so intense as to make further progress impossible and he crashed into the target area. By his voluntary acceptance of a mission he knew was extremely hazardous, and his assumption of an intrepid course of action at the risk of life over and above the call of duty, Major Jerstad set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 72, October 28, 1943

Action Date: 1-Aug-43

Service: Army Air Forces

Rank: Major

Company: Headquarters

Regiment: 93d Bombardment Group (H)

Division: 9th Air Force (Attached)