MAJ JOHN L. SMITH
Marine Fighter Squadron 223
Solomon Islands area
While serving as commanding officer of Marine Fighting Squadron 223, Maj. Smith repeatedly led his squadron against a, greatly superior enemy force inflicting devastating losses;
Maj Smith, PERSONALLY splashed 16 enemy fighters between 21 August and 15 September 1942.
Smith’s Squadron achieved a tally of 83 enemy kills in just 24 days.
An average of almost 4 per day
Medal of Honor Citation –
“For conspicuous gallantry and heroic achievement in aerial combat above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of Marine Fighting Squadron TWO TWENTY-THREE, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands Area, August – September, 1942.
Repeatedly risking his life in aggressive and daring attacks, Major Smith led his squadron against a determined force, greatly superior in numbers, personally shooting down sixteen Japanese planes between August 21 and September 15, 1942. In spite of the limited combat experience of many of the pilots of this squadron, they achieved the notable record of a total of eighty-three enemy aircraft destroyed in this period, mainly attributable to the thorough training under Major Smith and to his intrepid and inspiring leadership.
His bold tactics and indomitable fighting spirit and the valiant and zealous fortitude of the men of his command not only rendered the enemy’s attacks ineffective and costly to them but contributed to the security of our advance base. His loyal and courageous devotion to duty sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”