1Lt KENNETH AMBROSE WALSH,
Marine Fighting Squadron 124, U.S.M.C
Solomon Islands Airspace
15 and 30 August 1943
Kenneth Walsh enlisted in the Marines as a Private and was swiftly selected for enlisted Pilot training. His skill and intellect led the Corps to give Walsh a direct commission and an assignment to a Combat Squadron.
Second Lieutenant Walsh became the first Corsair ace when he shot down his 3rd , 4th and 5th enemy fighter on 13 May 1943.
On one sortie Walsh repeatedly dived his plane into an enemy formation outnumbering his own division 6 to 1 and, although hit numerous times, Walsh shot down 2 Japanese dive bombers and 1 fighter before depleted ammunition forced the Americans to retreat.
On 30 Aug 1943, Walsh was flying a vital escort mission when he developed engine trouble and was forced to ditch his aircraft near a friendly forward airfield at Munda.
Walsh took it upon himself to commandeer the nearest of the Munda unit’s F4U Corsairs and return to the mission.
As he proceeded to rejoin his flight over Kahili, the lone American fighter spotted a flight of at least 50 Japanese Zeros headed to attack American positions.
Walsh unhesitatingly attacked the enormous force with relentless fury and complete disregard for his own survival. The Lt. added 4 fresh kills before enemy cannon fire shredded his bird forcing him to make a dead-stick ditch off the coast of Vella Lavella. – He survived and was picked up by allied Search and rescue.
1Lt. Kenneth Ambrose Walsh returned to the fight and continued his career in the Marine Corps to serve in the Korean War and retired with the rank of Ltc.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Walsh was also awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross with 5 Gold Stars (additional awards).
Ken Walsh passed from this world in 1998, he apparently suffered a cardiac arrest while making preparastions to attend the Osh Kosh Air Show.