21 April 1942 – Edward O´Hare becomes the first US Navy aviator to receive the Medal of Honor

On 21st April 1942, Edward Henry O´Hare received the Medal of Honor – the highest military decoration of the United States Armed Forces – for his actions on 20th February 1942.

On that day, O´Hare was the sole fighter pilot to defend USS Lexington aircraft carrier against Japanese bombers.

O´Hare managed to perform four attacks on the Japanese formation until he run out of ammunition. He was convinced that he shot down six ´Bettys´ and damaged one more. Although O´Hare´s score was then reduced to five aircraft, it was to become a flying ace, the first one within the US Navy. Additionally, O´Hare was promoted to lieutenant commander and became the first naval pilot to receive the Medal of Honor.

If you want to learn more about Edward H. ´Butch´ O’Hare, his aviation career and the actions from 20th February 1942, we recommend to read our article issued on 26th November 2021 – on the anniversary of O´Hare´s tragic death during a night-time fighter mission.

Cover photo: Lieutenant Edward Henry (´Butch´) O’Hare, USN, seated in the cockpit of his Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter, circa spring 1942 – US Navy, Office of War Information collection, 208-PU-14842, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC (Public Domain)