20 February 2011

Medal of Honor: R. I. Bong


Major, US Army Air Corps; V Fighter Command

Born: 24 September 1920, Poplar, Wisconsin
Died: 6 August 1945, North Hollywood, California

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty in the Southwest Pacific area from 10 October to 15 November 1944. Though assigned to duty as gunnery instructor and neither required nor expected to perform combat duty, Maj. Bong voluntarily and at his own urgent request engaged in repeated combat missions, including unusually hazardous sorties over Balikpapan, Borneo, and in the Leyte area of the Philippines. His aggressiveness and daring resulted in his shooting down 8 enemy airplanes during this period.

Note: Major Bong was killed when the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star he was flying crashed following a fuel-pump malfunction.

Richard I Bong AFB, Wisconsin, was named in his honour. The uncompleted base was closed in 1960, and is now the Richard Bong State Recreation Area.

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