'Butch' O'Hare Reported Lost
PHOENIX, Ariz., Dec. 10. (AP) - Lt. Cmdr. Edward
H. (Butch) O'Hare (pictured above when he was a senior lieutenant), recipient of the Congressional
Medal of Honor for shooting down five Japanese bombers in the South Pacific in the early days of
the war, is reported missing in action.
His mother, Mrs. Selma O'Hare, of Phoenix, and his wife, Rita, of San Diego,
were notified today by the navy department of his disappearance but no details were given.
Cmdr. O'Hare was a section leader and pilot of Fighting Squadron 3, attached to
the USS Lexington on February 20, 1942, when single-handed he engaged a Japanese formation of
nine heavy bombers attacking his carrier.
At close range, in the face of intense enemy fire, making the most of his
limited ammunition, he shot down five enemy bombers and severely damaged a sixth before they
reached bomb release point over the Lexington.
When President Roosevelt pinned the Congressional Medal of Honor on Cmdr.
O'Hare, he hailed him for "one of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action
in the history of combat aviation."
U. S. Had Single Carrier In Pacific a Year Ago
Was Badly Damaged, Kinkaid
Says; 'Ocean Full' Now
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC ALLIED HEADQUARTERS, Nov. 19
(AP) - The United States had only a single aircraft carrier
in the Pacific a year ago and that one was badly damaged, Vice-Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid
disclosed here today. Compared with that picture, the new commander of Allied naval forces in
the Southwest Pacific said the Navy now has an "ocean full" of carriers and ships to
carry forward attacks on Japan's island defenses.
Admiral Kinkaid told a press conference that while there were many roads to
Japan, any one or all of them would be extremely difficult. He added: "But we are headed
toward Japan and will go through."
He took the view that any route leading toward Japan which is practicable is
important, and expressed confidence that "one of these days we will have enough to go
on all routes."
Asked about the Japanese failure to give battle to the American fleet, he
replied that possibly Japan liked to have a fleet "in being" even though it meant
keeping it in the inland Sea of Japan. Such a fleet continues as a major threat which the
Allies must take into consideration.
'Butch' O'Hare Saves Carrier Force As Japanese Stage War's Worst Night Attack
But Veteran U.S. Navy Flier Fails To Come Back After Battle
ABOARD A U.S. CARRIER OFF TARAWA, Nov. 27
(Delayed). (AP) - For the second time within this Pacific war, Lt. Cmdr. Edward H. (Butch)
O'Hare took on overwhelming odds of Japanese planes and saved his carrier formation.
But what saddens the men on this - his - carrier is that Butch did not return
from the successful mission with his boyish smile and good-natured banter.
We hope he is alive and will found when the sun comes up.
For two hours, if Butch was living, he floated within sight of two burning
# # #
Last seen, Butch's Hellcat was slanting into the ocean. The torpedo squadron
leader, Lt. Cmdr. John L. Phillips of Linden, Va., asserts he saw something drop almost in a
straight line and splash. It remained on the water a long time, therefore he believes it was
a parachute. The wingman, Ensign Warren A. Skon, 24, of St. Paul, saw Butch flash below from
sight during the beginning of the battle with 30 or 40 Japanese planes.
Phillips said he called repeatedly, "Butch, this is Phil . . . Butch, this
is Phil . . . Butch, this is Phil . . ." But received no word from Butch.
He added he took a fix on the position and immediately reported it to the ship,
where the navigator took a position with the stars and a great search is going out as soon as
# # #
The task force commander, Rear Admiral Arthur William Radford, said "I'm
sure Butch and Phillips, who shot down two Jap planes, broke up a Jap torpedo attack plan and
probably saved at least three of my ships from being hit."
# # #
Butch received one of the first Congressional Medals of Honor of this war, for
knocking down five Japanese singlehanded which were attempting to attack the Lexington in the
south seas last year.
Tonight's two hour attack, according to Admiral Radford, was the greatest and
most sustained night torpedo attack the Japanese ever launched. It eclipsed the determined
attack of the previous night.
When the call came to man the planes, Butch was eating. He grabbed up part of
his supper in his fist and started running for the ready room. He was dressed in loose marine
The planes took off before dusk and flew out into the incoming mass of Japanese
planes. When the picked up the target they started for it and then the sky was full of Japanese
planes all around our pilots.
# # #
Finally they got on the Japs' tails and were riding in their slipstream. Before
making bursts, Butch called, "Hey, Phil, turn those running lights on. I want to be sure
it's a yellow devil I'm drilling."
# # #
Then Phillips opened up on a Japanese and saw him fall off and then caught a
sidelong glance at Butch, slanting off below him and leaving the tight formation.
Phillips asserts the Japanese recovered from their surprise and began backfiring
heavily and his tunnel-gunner received a shot through the foot.
The ship's planes already are being readied for launching for the search for
their beloved shipmate, Butch.
Phillips reports tracer fire among the Japanese as they were leaving the attack
area means our fighter mission was extremely successful for disrupting the attack plans and by
filling the Japanese with utter confusion, which is likely to exist hereafter.