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Archie Donahue

Archie Donahue, born Oct. 24, 1917, in Casper, Wyoming, moved to Texas in 1934. After three years of engineering at the University of Texas, he was accepted as an Aviation Cadet in the Navy and sent first to Kansas City, then to Corpus Christi Air Station. He transferred to the Marine Corps and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in Feb., 1942. Donahue was posted to Norfolk, Va. until assigned to VMF-112. VMF-112 arrived at Guadalcanal in Sept., 1942, flying F4F-4 Wildcats. Between Sept., 1942 and June, 1943, Donahue shot down nine enemy aircraft over Guadalcanal, one in his F4F-4, and eight in the F4U-1 Corsair. On May 13, 1943, he destroyed five Mitsubishi A6M3 Zeros in a single engagement, then returned to the United States in June. After serving as Flight Officer at El Toro Air Station in California, Donahue was assigned to VMF-451 with the responsibility for making the unit carrier qualified.


On Feb. 16, 1945, VMF-451 began combat operations from the USS "Bunker Hill" carrying out a fighter sweep over Tokyo. For the next three months 451 took part in continuous bombing, strafing, and close support missions for the landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa and in operations against the Japanese mainland. On April 12, Donahue again achieved five victories in a single engagement over Okinawa. In May the "Bunker Hill" was severely damaged during a Kamikaze attack and forced to retire from combat. Donahue returned to the States and was put in command of a squadron at El Centro before being posted to Quantico, Va. For his actions Donahue was decorated with the Navy Cross, three Distinguished Flying Crosses and five Air Medals. He flew 159 combat missions over Guadalcanal and 56 from the deck of the'"Bunker Hill", and was credited with fourteen confirmed aerial victories.


Navy Cross Citation:
Major Archie Glenn Donahue, USMCR, for service as set forth in the following


"For distinguishing himself by extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as leader of a carrier based fighter division on Combat Air Patrol over Okinawa on 12 April 1945. After taking over the lead of two other fighter divisions in addition to his own, when the flight leader was forced to leave the formation, he skillfully and courageously led the flight into action against numerically superior enemy planes that were directing an attack against units of our shipping. As a result of his able and inspiring leader-ship the flight destroyed a total of sixteen enemy planes of which he personally shot down five. His prompt and effective action in routing the enemy not only removed a dangerous threat to our shipping but was also accomplished without loss to our own planes. His skill and courage were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy

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