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John A. Pritchard , Jr.

Date of birth: January 12, 1914
Date of death: MIA: November 29, 1942
Burial location: Cambridge, England
Place of Birth: South Dakota, Redfield
Home of record: Burbank California
Status: MIA

John Pritchard graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut, Class of 1938. He was the first Coast Guard Officer to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. His crewman in this mission, Radioman First Class Benjamin Bottoms became the first Enlisted member of the Coast Guard to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross. Both men were Missing in action during this rescue mission.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Navy and Marine Corps Medal

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Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy and Marine Corps Medal (Posthumously) to Lieutenant John A. Pritchard, Jr., United States Coast Guard, for heroic conduct while serving aboard the U.S.C.G.C. NORTHLAND during the rescue on 23 November 1942, of three members of the Royal Canadian Air Force stranded on the Greenland Ice Cap for thirteen days. Volunteering to lead a rescue party from the ship, Lieutenant Pritchard proceeded with his men by motor launch on the fringe of heavy ice, close aboard the glacier outlet to the bay and, fully aware of the ever-present danger of calving Ancretok Glacier, landed on the shore. Accompanied by his men, he daringly worked his way up a mountainside to the glacier and established contact with the marooned airmen by lights and voice. Realizing that speed was imperative, he and his party pressed on, crossing several hundred yards of heavily crevassed area after dark in order to reach the exhausted fliers, and finally succeeded in bringing them safely to the ship. Lieutenant Pritchard's intelligent planning, fearless leadership and great personal valor aided materially in the gallant rescue of the stranded men and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: November 23, 1942

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant

Division: U.S.C.G.C. Northland

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant John A. Pritchard, Jr., United States Coast Guard, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flights as pilot of a plane which rescued Army fliers stranded on the Greenland Ice Cap, on 28 and 29 November 1942. Knowing full well the dangers involved in landing on, and taking off from, the ice in a heavily loaded plane, and the probable consequences in case of failure, Lieutenant Pritchard started in his plane from Comanche Bay, East Greenland, and proceeded to the Ice Cap on which the Army fliers were stranded. Upon reaching the vicinity of the marooned airmen, he maneuvered his plane to a safe landing on the Ice Cap, took aboard two of the injured men and, with superb airmanship, successfully took off for his ship, arriving safely. The following day, he again volunteered to resume rescue operations for the remaining Army fliers and reached them without mishap. After getting one more of the men on board, he again took off successfully and started for his ship, but failed to return. By his courage, skill and fearless devotion to duty, Lieutenant Pritchard upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 314 (May 1943)

Action Date: November 28 & 29, 1942

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant

Division: U.S.C.G.C. Northland