Monday, February 20, 2017

On this day in history .... WWII's First Flying Ace

Butch O'Hare.jpg
Notice the five Japanese flags on his aircraft,
making Lt O'Hare an "ace".
Public Domain (link)

We have winners at SOS Aloha - Kim H., Susan P., and Carol L. win a book choice from my convention stash.  

Our country is also a winner .... on this day in 1942, Navy Lieutenant Edward "Butch" O'Hare became WWII's first flying ace.  From (link).

On February 20, 1942, Butch O'Hare demonstrated in real life, and when it counted most, the fighting skills he had mastered. The carrier Lexington had been assigned the dangerous task of penetrating enemy-held waters north of New Ireland.

Unfortunately, while still 400 miles from Rabaul, the Lexington was discovered by a giant four-engine Kawanishi flying boat .... nine more Japanese bombers were reported on the way. Six Wildcats, one of them piloted by Butch O'Hare, roared off the Lexington's deck to stop them. O'Hare and his wingman spotted the V formation of bombers first and dived to try to head them off. The other F4F pilots were too far away to reach most of the enemy planes before they released their bombs. As if this weren't bad enough, O'Hare's wingman discovered his guns were jammed. He was forced to turn away. Butch O'Hare stood alone between the Lexington and the bombers.

One by one he attacked the oncoming bombers until five had been downed. It was an amazing example of daring and shooting skill. (O'Hare saved the Lexington and) was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and awarded the highest decoration of his country, the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Lt O'Hare received the Medal of Honor
from President Roosevelt
Public Domain (link)

Today, millions of flyers transit O'Hare Airport, probably unaware of the man for whom the airport was named. 

Now you know.

Have you been to O'Hare? Do you read the plaques in the airports to learn about the history? One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Sunday, February 19, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Monday, February 20.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


  1. Congratulations to all.

    I have heard of O'Hare Airport.

  2. I've been to O'Hare airport but never knew the story behind the name. Thanks for sharing this amazing Hero's story.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    1. Almost forgot. Thank you & congrats to other winners.
      Carol L

  3. Congrats, thanks
    Yes been for connection , very long walk lol, long time ago

  4. I have been there for connections. But usually I am late t make the connection.

  5. Congrats to all the winners! I try not to fly out of O'Hare.....hubby and I would rather drive than fly

  6. I've never been to Chicago! That's a wonderful story - I'll think of the Lt's story now whenever I hear that name.

  7. Congratulations to the winners.

    I've never had a connecting flight through O'Hare. I also don't fly much.


  8. Congrats, winners. Only flew into O'Hare once and didn't notice the plaques because we were rushing to the car rentals.

  9. Congrats to the winners! I don't believe I've been to
    that airport.

  10. Congrats and I haven't been to that airport.

  11. Congratulations to the winners.
    I have been through O'Hare Airport for a connection in 1971. There was a bad storm and planes were stacked up circling. There was finally a small break in the clouds and several were able to make it through and land. It was a massive snow storm and we ended up stuck on the ground for hours with lots of unhappy passengers. It was right after New Years and there were many young GI's heading back to base after a Christmas leave. They continued to serve drinks but didn't want to serve lunch. They finally did, then had to collect the trays because we had permission to take off. Angry parents, whiney children, drunk individuals, not a good mix. By then, they had stopped serving drinks which made the drunks mad. One dad threw his tray full of food at the stewardess when she came to pick it up. We all missed our connections in Seattle. Definitely a memorable flight that I really wouldn't want to repeat.

  12. I liked the history info, but I have to admit that O'Hare is my least favorite airport of all time. I was stuck there for a full day several months ago. It was a nightmare of poor service. I don't want to visit there ever again!

  13. Congrats to the winners. I believe we used O'Hare for a connecting flight somewhere years ago.