Lindsey -- Capt Darrell R Lindsey

  • By

Darrell Lindsey enlisted as an aviation cadet at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, Jan 16, 1942. He trained at Visalia, Lemoore, and Victorville Fields, Calif., getting his wings and commission in August 1942. He took bombardier training at Kirtland Field, .N.M., and most of 1943, was assigned to the 314th Bomb Squadron at MacDill Field, Fla., with rank of first lieutenant. He was transferred to Kellogg Field, Mich. in September 1943, advanced to captain in December, and served as flight commander for the 394th Bomb Group's 585th Squadron.
In February 1944, he went to Europe with the unit and next month began flying combat missions in B-26 medium bombers. Captain Lindsey racked up 143 hours of combat time and was on his 46th mission, flying as group leader, when he was killed in action. On Aug. 9, he led a formation of 30 B-26s in a hazardous mission to destroy the strategic enemy-held L'lsle Adam railroad bridge over the Seine in occupied France. With most of the bridges over the Seine destroyed, this one was of inestimable value to the enemy in moving troops, supplies and equipment. Captain Lindsey and the others were fully aware of the fierce resistance that would be encountered.

For completing the bomb run and making it possible for his crew to jump to safety from the crippled plane, Captain Lindsey earned the Medal of Honor. The citation, in part reads: "...Despite the fact that his plane was hurled out of formation by violent ground fire, he brilliantly maneuvered back into the lead position without disrupting the flight. Fully aware that the gasoline tanks might explode at any moment, he gallantly elected to continue the perilous bombing run. With fire streaming from his right engine and his right wing half enveloped in flames, he led his formation over the target upon which the bombs were dropped with telling effect.

Captain Lindsey then gave the order for the crew to parachute from the doomed Aircraft. With magnificent coolness and superb pilotage, and without regard for his own life, he held the swiftly descending airplane in a steady glide until the members of the crew could jump to safety. The last man to leave the stricken plane was the bombardier, who offered to lower the wheels so that Captain Lindsey might escape from the nose. Realizing that this might throw the plane into an uncontrollable spin and jeopardize the bombardier's chances to escape, he refused the offer. Immediately after the bombardier had bailed out, and before Captain Lindsey was able to follow, the right gasoline tank exploded. The aircraft, sheathed in fire, went into a steep dive and was seen to explode as it crashed. All who are living today from this plane owe their lives to the fact that Captain Lindsey remained cool and showed supreme courage in this. emergency."

See the full citation at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.