David McCampbell

David McCampbell

World War II · US Navy · Captain

Medal of Honor Citation

    "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commander, Air Group 15, during combat against enemy Japanese aerial forces in the first and second battles of the Philippine Sea. An inspiring leader, fighting boldly in the face of terrific odds, Comdr. McCampbell led his fighter planes against a force of 80 Japanese carrier-based aircraft bearing down on our fleet on 19 June 1944. Striking fiercely in valiant defense of our surface force, he personally destroyed 7 hostile planes during this single engagement in which the outnumbering attack force was utterly routed and virtually annihilated. During a major fleet engagement with the enemy on 24 October, Comdr. McCampbell, assisted by but l plane, intercepted and daringly attacked a formation of 60 hostile land-based craft approaching our forces. Fighting desperately but with superb skill against such overwhelming airpower, he shot down 9 Japanese planes and, completely disorganizing the enemy group, forced the remainder to abandon the attack before a single aircraft could reach the fleet. His great personal valor and indomitable spirit of aggression under extremely perilous combat conditions reflect the highest credit upon Comdr. McCampbell and the U.S. Naval Service."

    Ace in a Day

      On 24 October 1944, McCampbell became the first and only airman to become an "ace in a day" twice, which means he shot down a total of at least ten planes.

      David S. McCampbell


        David McCampbell graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1933. He was the Navy's top ACE of the war with 34 victories, and a record 9 kills in a single day. He was the highest-ranking ACE of any branch of service to survive the war. With award of the Navy Cross on October 25, 1944, he is the only man ever to earn BOTH of the Navy's top two awards in successive days.