Bookmark and Share

Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare

Date of birth: March 13, 1914
Date of death: MIA: November 27, 1944
Burial location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Place of Birth: Missouri, St. Louis
Home of record: St. Louis Missouri
Status: MIA

Edward O'Hare grew up in Chicago, where his father was murdered by Al Capone's gang. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1937. He was lost in action in a night mission after his Medal of Honor mission, when he was mistaken by the rear gunner of another Navy TBF, and shot down. The International Airport in Chicago is named for him.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Medal of Honor

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare (NSN: 0-78672), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in aerial combat, at grave risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, as section leader and pilot of Fighting Squadron Three (VF-3), attached to the U.S.S. LEXINGTON, on 20 February 1942. Having lost the assistance of his teammates, Lieutenant O'Hare interposed his plane between his ship and an advancing enemy formation of nine attacking twin-engine heavy bombers. Without hesitation, alone and unaided, he repeatedly attacked this enemy formation, at close range in the face of intense combined machinegun and cannon fire. Despite this concentrated opposition, Lieutenant O'Hare, by his gallant and courageous action, his extremely skillful marksmanship in making the most of every shot of his limited amount of ammunition, shot down five enemy bombers and severely damaged a sixth before they reached the bomb release point. As a result of his gallant action--one of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action in the history of combat aviation--he undoubtedly saved his carrier from serious damage.

Action Date: 20-Feb-42

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant

Company: Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3)

Division: U.S.S. Lexington (CV-2)

Navy Cross

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare (NSN: 0-78672), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Night Fighter Plane in Air Group SIX (AG-6), attached to the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6), and deployed over Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands. Lieutenant Commander O'Hare personally organized and voluntarily led the first night fighter section of aircraft to operate from a carrier, at night, against enemy aircraft, although he well knew the hazard involved. On the night of 26 November 1943, when the Task Group containing his parent vessel was under threat of imminent attack by Japanese aircraft, off Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, he took off with his night fighter section, which with unswerving devotion to duty and extraordinary skill, intercepted the largest group of enemy aircraft, thereby effectively breaking up that phase of the attack and destroying two Japanese planes. His capable and determined leadership and his extraordinary heroism, which was beyond the call of duty, were responsible in large measure for saving an important Task Group from serious damaged. From this action Lieutenant Commander O'Hare failed to return.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 329 (August 1944)

Action Date: November 26, 1943

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Regiment: Air Group 6 (AG-6)

Division: U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6)

Distinguished Flying Cross

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare (NSN: 0-78672), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Commander of a Fighting Squadron during the attack on Marcus Island, 31 August 1943. He led his squadron in successful and effective strafing attacks in the face of enemy anti-aircraft fire and thereby contributed to the destruction of all ground airplanes and virtually eighty percent of the installations on the island. His exceptional ability to organize and the leadership, judgment, and courage that he displayed contributed materially to the success of the attack. His conduct through was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: August 31, 1943

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Company: Fighting Squadron 6 (VF-6)

Distinguished Flying Cross

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare (NSN: 0-78672), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in the line of his profession as Squadron Commander, Fighting Squadron SIX (VF-6), during operations of United States Naval Forces against Wake Island on 5 October 1943. Upon sighting three enemy fighter planes south of Wake Island, he overtook and single-handedly shot down one of the enemy planes while his unit accounted for the remaining two. In so doing he led his unit in pursuit of a fleeing and damaged enemy down to the runway on Wake Island, where, after this plane was disposed of, he, and his three followers in the face of a concentration of anti-aircraft installations destroyed two twin-engine bombers and a fourth fighter on the ground. Following this action upon intercepting a third twin-engine bomber 20 miles south of Wake Island, he closed with it in an attack so successful that it was in a fatally crippled condition before another plane of his unit joined in its final destruction. His aggressiveness and leadership were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: October 5, 1943

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Company: Fighting Squadron 6 (VF-6)