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Herbert B. Hatch , Jr.

Date of birth: May 23, 1918
Place of Birth: Minnesota, St. Paul
Home of record: Stockton California


Distinguished Service Cross

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Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant (Air Corps) Herbert B. Hatch, Jr. (ASN: 0-760190), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-38 Fighter Airplane in the 71st Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Group, FIFTEENTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces on 10 June 1944, during an air mission over Ploesti, Rumania. As part of the formation of fighter escorts for P-38 fighter bombers attacking a vitally important oil refinery in Ploesti, Lieutenant Hatch destroyed five enemy fighters, probably destroyed one and damaged another. In an effort to obtain surprise, the formation had flown at tree-top level but were attached by a numerically superior force prior to reaching the target. After engaging the enemy in furious combat, and expending all its ammunition, Lieutenant Hatch joined two other P-38's, whose ammunition was also completely exhausted, in a desperate attempt to assist comrades who were in need of help. Despite the lack of ammunition, Lieutenant Hatch returned with the formation through heavy anti-aircraft fire into the combat area and covered the withdrawal of another aircraft which had developed engine trouble. Lieutenant Hatch's gallantry in action, extreme devotion to duty, and outstanding heroism reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army Air Forces-Mediterranean Theater of Operations, General Orders No. 38 (August 1, 1944)

Action Date: 10-Jun-44

Service: Army Air Forces

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: 71st Fighter Squadron

Regiment: 1st Fighter Group

Division: 15th Air Force