Medal of Honor recipients (January 1943)

BG Kenneth Newton Walker, 44, USAAF (1898–1943)

64 BS, 43 BG (H), 5th Air Force
Rabaul, New Britain
January 5, 1943
Presented March 25, 1943
Posthumous

22956

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (posthumously) to BG (Air Corps) Kenneth Newton Walker (ASN: 0-12510), United States Army Air Forces, for conspicuous leadership above and beyond the call of duty involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life.

As commander of the V Bomber Command during the period from September 5, 1942, to January 5, 1943, BG Walker repeatedly accompanied his units on bombing missions deep into enemy-held territory. From the lessons personally gained under combat conditions, he developed a highly efficient technique for bombing when opposed by enemy fighter airplanes and by anti-aircraft fire. On January 5, 1943, in the face of extremely heavy anti-aircraft fire and determined opposition by enemy fighters, he led an effective daylight bombing attack against the shipping in the harbor at Rabaul, New Britain, which resulted in direct hits on 9 enemy vessels. During this action, his airplane was disabled and forced down by the attack of an overwhelming number of enemy fighters.

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SGT William Grant Fournier, 29, USA (1913–1943)

Company M, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Mount Austen, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
January 10, 1943
Authorized June 5, 1943
Posthumous

22682

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (posthumously) to SGT William Grant Fournier, United States Army, for gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty on January 10, 1943, while serving with Company M, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, in action at Mount Austen, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.

As leader of a machine-gun section charged with the protection of other battalion units, his group was attacked by a superior number of Japanese, his gunner killed, his assistant gunner wounded, and an adjoining gun crew put out of action. Ordered to withdraw from this hazardous position, SGT Fournier refused to retire but rushed forward to the idle gun and, with the aid of another soldier who joined him, held up the machine gun by the tripod to increase its field of action. They opened fire and inflicted heavy casualties upon the enemy. While so engaged both these gallant soldiers were killed, but their sturdy defensive action was a decisive factor in the following success of the attacking battalion.

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T/5 Lewis R. Hall, 47, USA (1895–1943)

Company M, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Mount Austen, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
January 10, 1943
Presented June 5, 1943
Posthumous

22706

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (posthumously) to T/5 Lewis R. Hall, United States Army, for gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty on January 10, 1943, while serving with Company M, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, in action at Mount Austen, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.

As leader of a machine-gun squad charged with the protection of other battalion units, his group was attacked by a superior number of Japanese, his gunner killed, his assistant gunner wounded, and an adjoining gun crew put out of action. Ordered to withdraw from his hazardous position, he refused to retire but rushed forward to the idle gun and with the aid of another soldier who joined him and held up the machine gun by the tripod to increase its field of action he opened fire and inflicted heavy casualties upon the enemy. While so engaged both these gallant soldiers were killed, but their sturdy defense was a decisive factor in the following success of the attacking battalion.

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CPT Charles Willis Davis, 25, USA (1917–1991)

2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
January 12, 1943
Presented July 30, 1943

481

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to MAJ (Infantry), [then CPT] Charles Willis Davis, United States Army, for distinguishing himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy on Guadalcanal Island, while serving with 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.

On January 12, 1943, MAJ Davis (then CPT), executive officer of an infantry battalion, volunteered to carry instructions to the leading companies of his battalion which had been caught in crossfire from Japanese machine guns. With complete disregard for his own safety, he made his way to the trapped units, delivered the instructions, supervised their execution, and remained overnight in this exposed position. On the following day, MAJ Davis again volunteered to lead an assault on the Japanese position which was holding up the advance. When his rifle jammed at its first shot, he drew his pistol and, waving his men on, led the assault over the top of the hill. Electrified by this action, another body of soldiers followed and seized the hill. The capture of this position broke Japanese resistance and the battalion was then able to proceed and secure the corps’ objective. The courage and leadership displayed by MAJ Davis inspired the entire battalion and unquestionably led to the success of its attack.

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Capt. Joseph Jacob Foss, 27, USMCR (1915–2003)

VMF-121, MAG-14, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing
Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
October 9, 1942 – January 23, 1943
Presented May 18, 1943

24310

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Capt. Joseph Jacob Foss (MCSN: 0-6774), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for extraordinary heroism and conspicuous courage in aerial combat above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Executive Officer and a Pilot of Marine Fighting Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE (VMF-121), Marine Air Group FOURTEEN (MAG-14), FIRST Marine Aircraft Wing, at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, during the period October 9, 1942 to January 23, 1943.

Engaging in almost daily combat with the enemy from October 9 to November 19, 1942, Capt. Foss personally shot down 23 Japanese aircraft and damaged others so severely that their destruction was extremely probable. In addition, during this period, he successfully led a large number of escort missions, skillfully covering reconnaissance, bombing and photographic planes as well as surface craft. On January 15, 1943, he added three more enemy aircraft to his already brilliant successes for a record of aerial combat achievement unsurpassed in this war. Boldly searching out an approaching enemy force on January 25, Capt. Foss led his eight F4F Marine planes and four Army P-38s into action and, undaunted by tremendously superior numbers, intercepted and struck with such force that four Japanese fighters were shot down and the bombers were turned back without releasing a single bomb. His remarkable flying skill, inspiring leadership and indomitable fighting spirit were distinctive factors in the defense of strategic American positions on Guadalcanal.

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1stLt. Jefferson Joseph DeBlanc, 21, USMCR (1921–2007)

VMF-112, MAG-11, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing
Kolombangara Island, Solomons Islands
January 31, 1943
Presented December 6, 1946

deblanc

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Capt. Jefferson Joseph DeBlanc, United States Marine Corps Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Leader of a Section of Six Fighter Planes in Marine Fighting Squadron ONE HUNDRED TWELVE, during aerial operations against enemy Japanese forces off Kolombangara Island in the Solomons Group, January 31, 1943.

Taking off with his section as escort for a strike force of dive bombers ordered to attack Japanese surface vessels, 1stLt. DeBlanc led his flight directly to the target area where, at 14,000 feet, our strike force encountered a large number of Japanese Zeros protecting the enemy’s surface craft. In company with the other fighters, 1stLt. DeBlanc instantly engaged the hostile planes and aggressively countered their repeated attempts to drive off our bombers, persevering in his efforts to protect the diving planes and waging fierce combat until, picking up a call for assistance from the dive bombers, under attack by enemy float planes at 1,000 feet, he broke off his engagement with the Zeros, plunged into the formation of floatplanes and disrupted the savage attack, enabling our dive bombers to complete their runs on the Japanese surface disposition and withdraw without further incident. Although his escort mission was fulfilled upon the safe retirement of the bombers, 1stLt. DeBlanc courageously remained on the scene despite a rapidly diminishing fuel supply and, boldly challenging the enemy’s superior number of floatplanes, fought a valiant battle against terrific odds, seizing the tactical advantage and striking repeatedly to destroy three of the hostile aircraft (two floatplanes and one Zero) and to disperse the remainder. Prepared to maneuver his damaged plane back to base, he had climbed aloft and set his course when he discovered two Zeros closing in behind. Undaunted, he opened fire and blasted both Zeros from the sky in a short, bitterly fought action which resulted in such hopeless damage to his own plane that other Zeros entering the fight set his aircraft on fire forcing him to bail out over enemy waters between Vella Lavella and enemy-held Kolombangara. A gallant officer, a superb airman, and an indomitable fighter, 1stLt. DeBlanc had rendered decisive assistance during a critical stage of operations, and his unwavering fortitude in the face of overwhelming opposition reflects the highest credit upon himself and adds new luster to the traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

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