David R. Kingsley
Recipient of THE MEDAL OF HONOR
Second Lieutenant David Kingsley of Portland, Oregon served as a B-17 Flying Fortress bombardier with the 341st Bomb Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group. On June 23, 1944, Kingsley was killed in action after successfully dropping his bombs on the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. During the mission the aircraft was badly damaged by enemy fire and forced to drop out of the B-17 formation. The pilot continued on to the target, the Ploesti Oil Fields, and there Kingsley successfully dropped his bombs, severely damaging the installation. The aircraft was unable to keep up with the formation on the return trip and was further attacked by enemy Me 109 aircraft, additionally damaging the plane and badly wounding crew members.
Kingsley rendered aid to the tail gunner and then went to give aid to the ball gunner who had also been wounded. The pilot gave the order to bail out but Kingsley found that the tail gunner’s parachute was missing. With utter disregard for his own means of escape, Kingsley unhesitatingly removed his parachute harness and adjusted it to the wounded tail gunner, then helped the wounded men bail out of the burning plane. The last sight of him was as he stood on the bomb bay catwalk while the plane flew on autopilot until it crashed a few minutes later. Kingsley was directly responsible for saving the life of the wounded gunner and was awarded this nations’ highest award for gallantry, the Medal of Honor.