January 01, 1943

US Marine Corps dive and torpedo bombers are jumped by Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zeros (Allied code name “Zeke”) in the Solomon Islands. Marine 1st Lt. Jefferson DeBlanc, flying cover, engages the Zeros, but abandons that fight to take on Mitsubishi F1M (“Pete”) floatplanes now attacking the bombers. He shoots down two and disperses the others before the Zeros reappear. Low on fuel, he shoots down three Zeros before bailing out of his severely damaged Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat. In 1946, he is recalled to active duty specifically to go to the White House to “trade in” the Navy Cross, originally awarded for this action, for the Medal of Honor.