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Lt. O'Hare's amazing feat of arms
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Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare was a famous American military pilot, the first American aviator to achieve a “flying ace” status (and doing so in just one fight), and the first naval recipient of the Medal of Honor. The fight that made him famous occurred on February the 20th, 1942. When the USS Lexington carrier’s radar spotted numerous targets approaching the ship, O’Hare and his wingman piloting Grumman F4F Wildcats were the only pilots available to defend against the attack.

John Thach, O’Hare’s former wingman, a famous aviator and naval tactician worked hard to bring his comrade-in-arms’ gunnery skills to an extraordinary high level. Facing 9 Japanese G4M “Betty” medium bombers quickly approaching the carrier in a tight formation, O’Hare dove to the bombers, concentrating fire on their most vulnerable spots. The hits were so spectacularly concentrated, that 1800 rounds of ammunition O’Hare’s Wildcat carried for its 4xM2 Browning MGs were enough to shoot down 5 enemy bombers and significantly damage the sixth. O’Hare’s attack scattered the rest of the Bettys so much, they missed with all ten 250kg bombs they managed to drop.

O'Hare went missing during a night interception mission on November 26, 1943, but his name was commemorated. The United States Navy named a Gearing-class destroyer USS O'Hare in the heroes’ honor. In 1949 the Chicago Orchard Depot Airport was renamed O'Hare International.

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