December 10, 1941

Marine Capt. Henry Elrod, flying one of the last remaining Grumman F4F Wildcats on Wake Island, shoots down a Mitsubishi G3M (Allied code name “Nell”) bomber. The next day, sinks the destroyer Kisaragi when his two 100-pound bombs detonate depth charges stowed on the ship’s deck and it explodes. Out of aircraft, the pilots of VMF-211 become traditional Marines and Elrod leads troops in ground combat and is killed on Oct. 23. For his actions in the war’s first month, he is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1946, retroactively becoming the first Marine Medal of Honor recipient in World War II.