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Individual Awards & Decorations 365th FG WWII

Individual Awards and Decorations:

Page: 1/4

Individual Awards and Decorations of the 365th Fighter Group during WWII

March 12, 1944

A major accident was averted on March 12, 1944 when Pvt. John L. Houchen was starting his plane and it caught fire. After it started, Pvt. Houchen taxied it away from the other aircraft even though at any moment the plane could blow up and kill him instantly. For this heroic deed, Pvt. Houchen received the Soldiers Medal on April 20th, 1944.

The citation read:

"By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved 2 July 1926 (Bull. 8 no. 1926), and in accordance with authority delegated by the War Department, a Soldiers Medal is awarded to the following named Enlisted Man:

             John L. Houchen, 34613246, Private, 387th Fighter Squadron, 365th Fighter Group. For heroism on 12 March 1944. On this date Private Houchen was priming an aircraft when it caught fire. The fire spread rapidly thereby endangering the lives of a crew that was pre-flighting a nearby P-47. Displaying great courage and with complete disregard for his own safety, Private Houchen taxied the burning aircraft away from the other aircraft. The heroic action prevented the possible destruction of an aircraft and the lives of the preflight crew. Residence at enlistment, Mississippi."

         This was the first of many medals to be won by Hell Hawk enlisted men, and the first medal, other than the Air Medal and its Bronze and Silver Oak Leaf Clusters, to be won by any member of the Hell Hawks.

Source: The History of the Hell Hawks by Charles R. Johnson, page 38

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