uss mccampbell

Grumman F6F Hellcat Fighter undergoing maintainance on board USS Essex (CV-9), which is at anchor off Saipan, 30 July 1944. This plane is “Minsi II,” belonging to the Essex Air Group Commander, Commander David McCampbell, USN.” 

McCampbell is the US Navy’s top flying ace of all time, and also a world aerial combat record holder: night enemy aircraft shot down in a single mission.

(NHHC: 80-G-373647)



Commander David McCampbell, USN, (1910-1996)

Rank and organization: Commander, U.S. Navy, Air Group 15.
Place and date: First and second battles of the Philippine Sea, 19 June 1944.
Entered service at: Florida. Born: 16 January 1910, Bessemer, Ala.
Other Navy awards: Navy Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Gold Stars, Air Medal. 

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commander, Air Group 15, during combat against enemy Japanese aerial forces in the first and second battles of the Philippine Sea. An inspiring leader, fighting boldly in the face of terrific odds, Comdr. McCampbell led his fighter planes against a force of 80 Japanese carrier-based aircraft bearing down on our fleet on 19 June 1944. Striking fiercely in valiant defense of our surface force, he personally destroyed 7 hostile planes during this single engagement in which the outnumbering attack force was utterly routed and virtually annihilated. During a major fleet engagement with the enemy on 24 October, Comdr. McCampbell, assisted by but l plane, intercepted and daringly attacked a formation of 60 hostile land-based craft approaching our forces. Fighting desperately but with superb skill against such overwhelming airpower, he shot down 9 Japanese planes and, completely disorganizing the enemy group, forced the remainder to abandon the attack before a single aircraft could reach the fleet. His great personal valor and indomitable spirit of aggression under extremely perilous combat conditions reflect the highest credit upon Comdr. McCampbell and the U.S. Naval Service.

Commander McCampbell was also the third highest scoring ace in the Navy in WWII, with 34 aerial victories and the highest scoring ace to survive the war.  He served in active duty until 1964 and the Arleigh Burke-class AEGIS guided missile destroyer, the USS McCampbell (DDG-85) was named in his honor.

Window scribbles.

U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Thad Brill provides guidance to a helicopter pilot during flight operations aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell under way in the Pacific Ocean, Sept. 1, 2012. The McCampbell is part of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group and is conducting a routine western Pacific patrol.