The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
EDWARD VERNON RICKENBACKER
UNITED STATES ARMY AIR SERVICE
For service as set forth in the following
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant (Air Service) Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, United States Army Air Service, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Pilot, 94th Aero Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group, Air Service, A.E.F., in action against the enemy near Billy, France, 25 September 1918. While on a voluntary patrol over the lines, First Lieutenant Rickenbacker attacked seven enemy planes (five type Fokker, protecting two type Halberstadt). Disregarding the odds against him, he dived on them and shot down one of the Fokkers out of control. He then attacked one of the Halberstadts and sent it down also.
Born: 8 October 1890 in Columbus, Ohio… Dropped out of school in seventh grade to raise money for his family… Raced in the 1911 Indianapolis 500… Joined the Army in 1917 as a mechanic and briefly served as a driver for Gen. John J. Pershing’s staff… Completed pilot training in just 17 days… The United States “Ace of Aces” shot down 22 enemy aircraft and four balloons during World War II, earning seven Distinguished Service Crosses — a record that is unmatched in all services… Originally awarded eight DSCs, the above actions were upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 1931… While enroute to New Guinea for a morale tour, the B-17 carrying Rickenbacker crashed in the Pacific Ocean and the men were stranded at sea for 24 days… Passed: 23 July 1973… Interred: Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio