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Service:United States Army Air Forces
Service Number:O-21630
Date of Birth:5 June 1911
Place of Birth:Wichita Falls, Texas, USA
Date of Death:5 March 1944 (Aged 32 years)
Decorations:Medal of Honor
Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart

National Museum of the USAF


5 March 1944 †P-47 42-22668: Aircraft was shot down by Japanese Oscars near Wewak.


Medal of Honor:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy, Col. Kearby volunteered to lead a flight of 4 fighters to reconnoiter the strongly defended enemy base at Wewak. Having observed enemy installations and reinforcements at 4 airfields, and secured important tactical information, he saw an enemy fighter below him, made a diving attack and shot it down in flames. The small formation then sighted approximately 12 enemy bombers accompanied by 36 fighters. Although his mission had been completed, his fuel was running low, and the numerical odds were 12 to 1, he gave the signal to attack. Diving into the midst of the enemy airplanes he shot down 3 in quick succession. Observing 1 of his comrades with 2 enemy fighters in pursuit, he destroyed both enemy aircraft. The enemy broke off in large numbers to make a multiple attack on his airplane but despite his peril he made one more pass before seeking cloud protection. Coming into the clear, he called his flight together and led them to a friendly base. Col. Kearby brought down 6 enemy aircraft in this action, undertaken with superb daring after his mission was completed.

Burial Details


External Links

Find A Grave


Congressional Medal of Honor Society [CMOHS] 2017 Kearby, Neel E. Retrieved 28 December 2017 from <http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/2814/kearby-neel-e.php>.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 2014 Nationwide Gravesite Locator. Retrieved 28 December 2017 from <https://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/>.

Record updated on 7 November 2018.


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