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Jerstad, John Louis "Jack"

Date of birth:
February 12th, 1918 (Racine/Wisconsin, United States)
Date of death:
August 1st, 1943 (Ploiesti, Romania)
Buried on:
Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial
Plot: C. Row: 24. Grave: 10.
Service number:
0-435784, U.S. Army Air Corps
Nationality:
American (1776 - present, Republic)

Biography

John Jerstad enlisted on July 12th 1941, as an aviation cadet at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He followed his operational and pilot training at Ontario, California and at Luke Field in Arizona. He was commissioned on February 6th 1942 and served at Barksdale Field with the 98th and 93rd Bomb Groups. He went with the 93rd to Europe in October 1942 and flew on B-24’s with 328th Bomb Squadron as Captain. In April 1943 he was promoted to Major and a month later assigned to the Headquarters of the 2nd Bomb Wing.
In August 1943 he had done his share of flying and was no longer assigned to the 93rd Bomb Group. Hearing of an upcoming Low-level bombing mission against the difficult and dangerous target of the Ploesti Oil Refineries, he volunteered to lead a formation. This was to be his last mission.
See his Medal of Honor for details.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major
Unit:
328th Bombardment Squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force, U.S.Army Air Forces
Awarded on:
October 28th, 1943
Citation:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. On 1 August 1943, he served as pilot of the lead aircraft in his group in a daring low-level attack against enemy oil refineries and installations at Ploesti, Rumania. Although he had completed more than his share of missions and was no longer connected with this group, so high was his conception of duty that he volunteered to lead the formation in the correct belief that his participation would contribute materially to success in this attack. Maj. Jerstad led the formation into attack with full realization of the extreme hazards involved and despite withering fire from heavy and light antiaircraft guns. Three miles from the target his airplane was hit, badly damaged, and set on fire. Ignoring the fact that he was flying over a field suitable for a forced landing, he kept on the course. After the bombs of his aircraft were released on the target, the fire in his ship became so intense as to make further progress impossible and he crashed into the target area. By his voluntary acceptance of a mission he knew was extremely hazardous, and his assumption of an intrepid course of action at the risk of life over and above the call of duty, Maj. Jerstad set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces."
Awarded posthumously.
Place and date action: Ploesti Raid, Rumania, 1 August 1943.
General Orders No.72, 28th October 1943.
Medal of Honor - Army (MoH)
Headquarters, 8th Air Force, General Orders No. 74
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
This award was obtained in the form of an Oak Leave to be attached on the ribbon of the first award.
Air Medal (AM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
This award was obtained in the form of an Oak Leave to be attached on the ribbon of the first award.
Air Medal (AM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
This award was obtained in the form of an Oak Leave to be attached on the ribbon of the first award.
Air Medal (AM)

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