2Lt JOSEPH R. SARNOSKI
U.S. Army Air Corps, 43rd Bomber Group
Over Buka Area, Solomon Islands
16 June 1943
2Lt Sarnoski was flying as bombardier on a volunteer mission to Map heavily defended Enemy positions in the Buka area of the Solomon Islands.
At missions end approx. 20 enemy bogeys jumped Sarnoski’s aircraft.
Sarnoski manned the Nose-Guns and fought off the first attackers, making it possible for the pilot to finish the plotted course.
A second frontal attack extensively damaged the bomber, and wounded 5 of the crew, including Sarnoski.
Although mortally wounded, the Officer continued firing and shot down 2 more enemy fighters.
A 20-millimeter shell smashed through the nose bubble of the bomber knocking Sarnoski into the catwalk under the cockpit.
Somehow he mustered the strength to crawl back to his post and continued to engage enemy fighters. He remained at his post. Mortally wounded, he continued to fire his machine gun until he collapsed and died. The defense of his aircraft at the price of his life, made completion of a vitally important mission possible. In addition to his Medal of Honor, other awards include the Silver Star, Purple Heart and Air Medal. – He was posthumously promoted to 2Lt.
2Lt. Sarnoski’s resolute defense of his aircraft cost him his life but made possible the completion of a vitally important mission.
Before receiving his commission, Sarnoski flew a number of missions as an enlisted bombardier and was promoted to technical sergeant in March 1942, and to master sergeant three months later. As an enlisted aircrewman, Sarnoiski earned the Silver Star and Air Medal on previous combat missions.