Oct 4, 2010

Pappy Boyington MoH


The 65th anniversary of Pappy Boyington's Medal of Honor presentation is today, October 5th.

In a White House ceremony on October 5, 1945, President Harry S. Truman presented Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Boyington with the Medal of Honor.

On October 4, 1943 Pappy flew off the Russell Islands with 5 other Black Sheep on a cover mission for a Marine bomber strike near Kahili. As they approached Kahili, they saw 30 Zeros climbing to meet them. Pappy took his flight down in a pass, opened fire and shot the tail of a Zero to pieces, and it spun in. Still in a slight turn Pappy came in on a 2nd Zero, let off a short burst, and the Japanese pilot bailed out. Continuing in his turn, Pappy closed in on the tail of another Zero, fired, and the Zero flamed and went down. Three Zeros in 30-seconds.

During the days of October 15 - 18, 1943 Pappy shot down 5 Japanese aircraft during fighter sweeps between Kahili and Ballalle. On the Oct. 17 mission, Boyington led the Black Sheep and pilots from VMF-221 on a sweep of Kahili. Over the target Pappy led 8 of the planes in a formation attack on 20 Zeros clibming to meet them, and above him the remaining Marine pilots made contact with 35 Zeros. The 21 Marines took on 55Zeros and the forty minute battle resulted in 20 Zeros shot down, and no Marines lost.

On October 4, 1945 The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Vandegrift, presented Pappy with the Navy Cross. General Vandegrift was also a recipient of both the Navy Cross and the Medal of Honor.

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