Carswell -- Maj Horace Seaver Carswell Jr.
Published November 13, 2014
Horace Carswell enlisted as a flying cadet at Dallas on March 26, 1940, and trained at Tulsa, Okla., and Randolph and Kelly Fields, Texas, getting his commission and wings toward the end of 1940. He instructed at Randolph and Goodfellow Fields in Texas, with promotion in February 1942, to first lieutenant. He attended the Army Air Force Combat Crew School at Hendricks Field, Fla. He was an instructor and flight commander with bomb squadrons at Davis Monthan Field, Ariz., and Biggs Field, Texas., and in December 1942, was promoted to captain.
In Jan 1943, he was assigned to the 356th Bomb Squadron at Clovis AFB, N.M., where he was promoted to major in April. The next month he went to Headquarters 302nd Bomb Group at Clovis, and then to Langley Field, Va., in operations and group command assignments. Major Carswell went to the Asiatic Pacific Theater in April 1944, as pilot and operations officer of the 308th Bomb Group. The B-24 bomber he was piloting crashed into a mountainside and burned after being damaged by enemy antiaircraft fire while on a one-plane strike against an enemy convoy in the South China Sea.
The citation for the Medal of Honor, during that mission on the night of Oct. 26, reads, in part: "... Taking the enemy force of 12 ships and at least two destroyers by surprise, he made one bombing run at 600 feet, scoring a near miss on one warship and escaping without drawing fire. He circled. and fully realizing that the convoy was thoroughly alerted and would meet his next attack with a barrage of antiaircraft fire, began a second low-level run which culminated in two direct hits on a large tanker. A hail of steel from enemy guns riddled the bomber knocking out two engines, damaging a third, crippling the hydraulic system... wounding the copilot . . . but by magnificent display of flying skill, Major Carswell controlled the airplane's plunge toward the sea and carefully forced it into a halting climb in the direction of the China shore. On reaching land, where it would have been possible to abandon the staggering bomber, one of the crew discovered that his parachute had been ripped by flak and rendered useless. The pilot, hoping to cross mountainous terrain and reach a base, continued onward until the third engine failed. He ordered the crew to bail out while he struggled to maintain altitude and, refusing to save himself, chose to remain with his comrade and attempt a crash landing. He died when the airplane struck a mountainside ...giving his life in a supreme effort to save all members of his crew..."
The air base in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, was named for him in June 1949.
View full citation from the Congressional Medal of Honor society page.