Captain. 97th Bombardment Group. B17 Bombadier. Downed over San Giovanni in 1943. Survived the war.
"For heroism at great risk of life and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 340th Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group, FIFTEENTH Air Force. On 16 July 1943, after a forced landing at sea caused some damage to his aircraft by intense anti-aircraft fire during a combat mission over Northern Italy, Lieutenant Abdallah, although painfully wounded, assisted the crew into rafts. Noticing that the navigator was missing, he returned to the rapidly sinking airplane, entered it, and found the navigator there in a semi-conscious condition. Despite his own wounds and the fact that the aircraft was nearly under water, Lieutenant Abdallah brought the injured crew member out of the sinking plane in time to save his life, even though the plane sank within one and one-half minutes. By his selfless courage and heroism, together with his cool judgment and devotion to duty at a time of great danger, Lieutenant Abdallah has reflected great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States of America."
Headquarters, 15th Air Force, General Orders No. 157
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain (Air Corps) John E. Abdallah (ASN: 0-733505), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations as Bombardier of a B-17 type aircraft. On 20 October 1943, Captain Abdallah led his group on a bombing mission against an important enemy airdrome in Italy. Adverse weather conditions were encountered en route, and the target area was found to be obscured by a complete overcast. Observing a landmark through a momentary break in the clouds, Captain Abdallah, after comparing the landmark with his maps, was positive that the target was directly in the path of his group. Skillfully plotting the course and determining the exact time for dropping his bombs, he led the entire group for a successful bombing in spite of the complete overcast. Photographs proved that his bombing had been highly successful, showing enemy installations severely damaged, and over eighteen enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground. By his outstanding professional skill, leadership, and devotion to duty, together with his personal combat record of over fifty successful missions against the enemy, Captain Abdallah has reflected great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
Headquarters, 15th Air Force, General Orders No. 336