O'Hare, Edward Henry, LCDR

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1943-1943, 131X, USS Enterprise (CV-6)
Service Years
1933 - 1943
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
St. Louis
Last Address
Near the Gilbert Islands

Casualty Date
Nov 23, 1943
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Not Specified
World War II
Location of Interment
Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family RegistryCongressional Medal Of Honor Society
WW II Memorial National Registry
  2014, World War II Fallen
  2014, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2014, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2014, Congressional Medal Of Honor Society [Verified]
  2014, WW II Memorial National Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 Duty Stations/ Advancement Schools
USS Saratoga (CV-3)VF-3 TomcattersUSS Enterprise (CV-6)USS Lexington (CV-2)
VF-6 Tomcatters
  1937-1939, 110X, USS New Mexico (BB-40)
  1939-1940, 139X, Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FL
  1940-1941, 131X, USS Saratoga (CV-3)
  1940-1943, 131X, VF-3 Tomcatters
  1941-1942, 131X, USS Enterprise (CV-6)
  1942-1942, 131X, USS Lexington (CV-2)
  1942-1943, 131X, USS Saratoga (CV-3)
  1943-1943, 131X, VF-6 Tomcatters
  1943-1943, 131X, USS Enterprise (CV-6)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1945 World War II
  1943-1943 Gilbert Islands Operation/Battle of Tarawa
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1933-1937, United States Naval Academy
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare was an Irish-American naval aviator of the United States Navy, who on February 20, 1942 became the Navy's first flying ace when he single-handedly attacked a formation of 9 heavy bombers approaching his aircraft carrier. Even though he had a limited amount of ammunition, he managed to shoot down or damage several enemy bombers. On April 21, 1942, he became the first naval recipient of the Medal of Honor in World War II.

O’Hare’s final action took place on the night of November 26, 1943, while he was leading the U.S. Navy’s first-ever nighttime fighter attack launched from an aircraft carrier. During this encounter with a group of Japanese torpedo bombers, O'Hare's F6F Hellcat was shot down; his aircraft was never found. In 1945, the U.S. Navy destroyer USS O'Hare (DD-889) was named in his honor.

A few years later, Colonel Robert R. McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, suggested that the name of Chicago's Orchard Depot Airport be changed as a tribute to Butch O'Hare. On September 19, 1949, the Chicago, Illinois airport was renamed O'Hare International Airport to honor O'Hare's bravery. The airport displays a Grumman F4F-3 museum aircraft replicating the one flown by Butch O'Hare during his Medal of Honor flight. The Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat on display was recovered virtually intact from the bottom of Lake Michigan, where it sank after a training accident in 1943 when it went off the training aircraft carrier USS Wolverine (IX-64). In 2001, the Air Classics Museum remodeled the aircraft to replicate the F4F-3 Wildcat that O'Hare flew on his Medal of Honor flight. The restored Wildcat is exhibited in the west end of Terminal 2 behind the security checkpoint to honor O'Hare International Airport's namesake.
  • First Naval Aviator to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
  • First Naval Aviator to become an "Ace".
  • Volunteered to lead the first ever Navy nighttime fighter attack from an aircraft carrier to intercept a large force of enemy torpedo bombers.
  • Namesake for USS O'Hare(DD/DDR-889)
  • Namesake for the Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Ill

Name of Award
Navy Medal of Honor

Year Awarded
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare (NSN: 0-78672), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in aerial combat, at grave risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, as section leader and pilot of Fighting Squadron Three (VF-3), attached to the U.S.S. LEXINGTON, on 20 February 1942. Having lost the assistance of his teammates, Lieutenant O'Hare interposed his plane between his ship and an advancing enemy formation of nine attacking twin-engine heavy bombers. Without hesitation, alone and unaided, he repeatedly attacked this enemy formation, at close range in the face of intense combined machinegun and cannon fire. Despite this concentrated opposition, Lieutenant O'Hare, by his gallant and courageous action, his extremely skillful marksmanship in making the most of every shot of his limited amount of ammunition, shot down five enemy bombers and severely damaged a sixth before they reached the bomb release point. As a result of his gallant action--one of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action in the history of combat aviation--he undoubtedly saved his carrier from serious damage.

Action Date: 20-Feb-42
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3)
Division: U.S.S. Lexington (CV-2)
Memorial in Terminal 2 at O'Hare Int'l.
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