Franklin D. Roosevelt

Presentation of the Congressional Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Edward H. O'Hare.

April 21, 1942

Well, now will you step right up here. We have two ceremonies. The first is to congratulate a new Lieutenant Commander Edward H. O'Hare. If you will notice his sleeve, he is only a Junior Lieutenant. He hasn't had time yet to get the "fixings" that go with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

This is an appointment by the Secretary of the Navy which I have approved. All you have to do is to tear of[ the lower half and return it to the Bureau of Navigation and keep the top half. And then the other is, I think, more important. (Reading):

"The President takes pleasure in presenting the Congressional Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Edward H. O'Hare, U.S. Navy, for services as set forth in the following Citation:

"'For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in aerial combat, at grave risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, as section leader and pilot of Fighting Squadron 3, when on February 20, 1942, having lost the assistance of his teammates, he interposed his plane between his ship and an advancing enemy formation of nine attacking twin-engined heavy bombers. Without hesitation, alone and unaided he repeatedly attacked this enemy formation at close range in the face of their intense combined machine-gun and cannon fire, and despite this concentrated opposition, he, by his gallant and courageous action, his extremely skillful marksmanship, making the most of every shot of his limited amount of ammunition, shot down five enemy bombers and severely damaged the sixth before they reached the bomb release point.

"'As a result of his gallant action, one of the most daring if not the most daring single action in the history of combat aviation, he undoubtedly saved his carrier from serious damage.'"

And with that in one hand, then we go ahead and do the little ceremony itself—the Congressional Medal of Honor. And if Mrs. O'Hare is more skilled with her fingers than I am, she will do it.

Put this around his neck. You may have to undo that in order to get it around his neck.

Now you put it 'round his neck, and I will shake hands with you.

There is the case, and there is the button. Now you are outfitted.

I think that's fine.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Presentation of the Congressional Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Edward H. O'Hare. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives