Kearby, Neel E, COL

Fallen
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Colonel
Last Service Branch
Aviation
Last Primary MOS
AAF MOS 1056-Pilot, Single-Engine Fighter
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Officer)
Primary Unit
1944-1944, 348th Airdrome Squadron
Service Years
1938 - 1944

Aviation

Colonel



Four Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

17 kb

Home State
Texas
Texas
Year of Birth
1911
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SP 4 Steven Ryan (LoneWolf) to remember Kearby, Neel E, COL.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Wichita Falls
Last Address
Wichita Falls

Casualty Date
Mar 05, 1944
 
Cause
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Papua New Guinea
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park - Dallas, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  1944, World War II Fallen [Verified]

 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

AAF Pilot Badge

 
 Unit Assignments
US Army Cadet CommandUS Army Air Force (USAAF)Army Garrison, Fort Clayton, PanamaChina-Burma-India (CBI)
  1937-1938, US Army Cadet Command
  1938-1941, US Army Air Force (USAAF)
  1941-1942, Army Garrison, Fort Clayton, Panama
  1942-1943, 348th Airdrome Squadron
  1943-1943, 348th Airdrome Squadron
  1944-1944, 348th Airdrome Squadron
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1942 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Philippine Islands Campaign (1941-42)
  1941-1945 World War II
  1943-1943 Northern Solomons Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of New Georgia
  1945-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)
 Colleges Attended 
North Central Texas College, GainesvilleUniversity of Texas at Austin
  1933-1933, North Central Texas College, Gainesville
  1934-1937, University of Texas at Austin
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Medal of Honor citation

The citation for the Medal of Honor, which was awarded by General Douglas MacArthur, describes his combat heroism:


Place and date: Near Wewak, New Guinea, 11 October 1943. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy, Col. Kearby volunteered to lead a flight of 4 fighters to reconnoiter the strongly defended enemy base at Wewak. Having observed enemy installations and reinforcements at 4 airfields, and secured important tactical information, he saw an enemy fighter below him, made a diving attack and shot it down in flames. The small formation then sighted approximately 12 enemy bombers accompanied by 36 fighters. Although his mission had been completed, his fuel was running low, and the numerical odds were 12 to 1, he gave the signal to attack. Diving into the midst of the enemy airplanes he shot down 3 in quick succession. Observing 1 of his comrades with 2 enemy fighters in pursuit, he destroyed both enemy aircraft. The enemy broke off in large numbers to make a multiple attack on his airplane but despite his peril he made one more pass before seeking cloud protection. Coming into the clear, he called his flight together and led them to a friendly base. Col. Kearby brought down 6 enemy aircraft in this action, undertaken with superb daring after his mission was completed.
   
Comments/Citation


Before his Medal of Honor was approved, Col. Kearby was decorated again and again. In all, the driven fighter pilot earned two Silver Stars, four Distinguished Flying Crosses, and five Air Medals.  Colonel Kearby, commanding officer of the 348th Fighter Group, was the only U.S. fighter pilot to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions while flying the P-47.

By March 1944, Kearby had 22 kills to his credit. On March 5, 1944, Kearby and two other pilots attacked a formation of 15 Japanese aircraft near Wewak. After shooting down one of the aircraft, Kearby himself was shot down by a Japanese Army Air Force Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa fighter. The P-47 crashed into the jungle below. Kearby escaped with parachute, but died of his wounds.

He was interred in Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park, Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.

 

   
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