Humpday History Highlight

Lt Edward OHareIt always interests me when I learn the story behind names every American knows.

February 20, 1942 – O’Hare Becomes First American WWII Flying Ace

In mid-February 1942, as the Lexington left Bougainville, the largest of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, for Rabaul, ship radar picked up Japanese bombers headed straight for the carrier. O’Hare and his team went into action, piloting F4F Wildcats. In a mere four minutes, O’Hare shot down five Japanese G4M1 Betty bombers; bringing a swift end to the Japanese attack and earning O’Hare the designation “ace” (given to any pilot who had five or more downed enemy planes to his credit).

Although the Lexington blew back the Japanese bombers, the element of surprise was gone, and the attempt to raid Rabaul was aborted for the time being. O’Hare was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery; and excellent aim.

Shooting down five bombers in four minutes? Pfft, I was once shot down by ten girls in five minutes at a high school dance.

11 thoughts on “Humpday History Highlight

  1. Wyatt Earp Post author

    Rick – I did not. From Al Capone’s crime syndicate to Medal of Honor in a generation. Wow.

    JT – Didn’t know who was behind the Chicago Airport naming until today.

  2. Staasch

    Unfortunately, Lt. O’Hare was shot down on 26 November 1943 by Jap bastards (I still hate those sneaky boogers) while he was defending his carrier and attacking torpedo bombers. His body and his plane where never recovered.

    God Bless America!

  3. loaded dice in vegas

    O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named for him. His father was a member of the Capone gang. If I can find the info about them I’ll forward it to you Wyatt. The kid was and still is an American Hero.

  4. Jim Scrummy

    Considering he was flying an F4F Wildcat, it’s still amazing (they weren’t the best at dogfighting, but rugged). The F4M Wildcat (it had the F6F Hellcat engine), could kick butt.

  5. Gunnutmegger

    Not to detract from this hero’s accomplishments, but shooting down bombers is like outrunning Rosie O’Donnut. Even in a Wildcat.

    Thank goodness the F6F Wildcat arrived when it did.


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