Keighley, William Harold

Date of birth:
May 15th, 1909 (Turtle Creek/Pennsylvania, United States)
Date of death:
March 24th, 1989
Nationality:
American (1776 - present, Republic)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Lieutenant Commander
Unit:
Composite Squadron Three (VC-3), U.S.S. Kalinin Bay (CVE-68) (Composite Squadron Three (VC-3), U.S.S. Kalinin Bay (CVE-68))
Awarded on:
August 1945
Citation:
"For extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Combat Plane in Composite Squadron THREE (VC-3), embarked from the U.S.S. KALININ BAY (CVE-68), and deployed over Samar in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Battle for Leyte Gulf in the Philippine Islands on 25 October 1944. When his task force was in imminent danger of being destroyed by heavy gunfire from an overwhelming force of hostile warships, Lieutenant Commander Keighley piloted one of the first planes launched, immediately maneuvering to attack the leading heavy cruiser. In bold defiance of the enemy's devastating antiaircraft fire, he scored three direct hits. Promptly joining a group of fighting planes when his bomb load was expended, Lieutenant Commander Keighley fought gallantly in the face of terrific opposition, making four determined strafing runs which resulted in considerable damage to the cruiser and effectively diverted hostile fire from our bombers and Torpedo Planes. Lieutenant Commander Keighley's outstanding courage, daring airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 341 (August 1945).
Navy Cross
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Second DFC received asa bronze star for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Lieutenant
Unit:
VT-21, USS Belleau Wood (VT-21, USS Belleau Wood)
Citation:
"On February 1, 1943, an enemy task force consisting of sixteen destroyers of the newest and largest type was discovered one hundred twenty-five miles from Guadalcanal on a bearing of three hundred and three degrees. A striking force of seventeen dive bombers and nine torpedo planes was ordered to intercept and attack the enemy. In the ensuing engagement two enemy destroyers were damaged or sunk. Lieutenant William H. Keighley, pilot of a torpedo bomber, scored a direct hit on one of the destroyers striking the enemy a serious blow.”
Air Medal (AM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Lieutenant Commander
Unit:
Torpedo Squadron Twenty-One
Citation:
“For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in aerial flight against the enemy. While serving with Torpedo Squadron Twenty-One Lieutenant Commander Keighley lead one flight of torpedo bombers in a daylight attack on approximately ten enemy ships consisting of one cruiser, six destroyers and at least three smaller vessels in Kahili Harbor, Bougainville, on 17 July 1943. The attack was made in the face of heavy fighter opposition and enemy antiaircraft fire. In spite of this opposition and with complete disregard of his personal safety, this officer led his flight in a daring and aggressive attack against the enemy shipping in coordination with dive bomber and fighter units. As a result of the combined attack, seven enemy ships were sunk including three warships and four smaller vessels; one enemy vessel was damaged and forty-nine enemy aircraft were destroyed. In addition Lieutenant Commander Keighley participated in a total of twenty-six other combat missions against enemy bases and shipping in the Solomon Islands area many of which were pressed home despite heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire. He also lead four night missions in the Kahili area. His sound judgment and unusual flying ability contributed greatly to the success of Torpedo Squadron Twenty-One in sinking a total of six enemy ships, damaging seven other enemy ships, shooting down five enemy fighters and in bombing numerous enemy bases and supply dumps. Lieutenant Commander Keighley's courage, leadership, and conduct has always been in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Second Air Medal received as a bronze star to be worn on the ribbon of the first Air Medal.
Air Medal (AM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Third Air Medal received as a second bronze star for on the ribbon of the first Air Medal.
Air Medal (AM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Fourth Air Medal received as a third bronze star for on the ribbon of the first Air Medal.
Air Medal (AM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Fifth Air Medal received as a fourth bronze star for on the ribbon of the first Air Medal.
Air Medal (AM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Sixth Air Medal received as a silver star (to depict five additional Air Medals after receiving the first) for on the ribbon of the first Air Medal.
Air Medal (AM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Eleventh Air Medal received as a second silver star for on the ribbon of the first Air Medal.
Air Medal (AM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Twelth Air Medal received as an additional bronze star for on the ribbon of the first Air Medal.
Air Medal (AM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Received with "FLEET" bar.
American Defence Service Medal
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Received with four battle stars.
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

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