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BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — March 25 marks National Medal of Honor Day, celebrating the Congressional Medal of Honor and all the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients.  The date is celebrated as on March 25, 1863, the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton first presented the Medal of Honor to six members of  “Andrews Raiders” for their volunteering and participation during an American Civil War raid in April of 1862.

A few facts about the award:

  • The Medal of Honor is the United States of America’s highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that may be awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who distinguished themselves by acts of valor. The medal is normally awarded by the President of the United States in the name of the U.S. Congress. Because the medal is presented “in the name of Congress”, it is often referred to informally as the “Congressional Medal of Honor”. However, the official name of the current award is “Medal of Honor”, as it began with the U.S. Army’s version. Within United States Code the medal is referred to as the “Medal of Honor”, and less frequently as “Congressional Medal of Honor”. U.S. awards, including the Medal of Honor, do not have post-nominal titles, and while there is no official abbreviation, the most common abbreviations are “MOH” and “MH”.
  • There are three versions of the medal, one for the Army, one for the Navy, and one for the Air Force. Personnel of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard receive the Navy version. The Medal of Honor is the oldest continuously issued combat decoration of the United States armed forces. The Medal of Honor was created as a Navy version in 1861 named the “Medal of Valor”, and an Army version of the medal named the “Medal of Honor” was established in 1862 to give recognition to men who distinguished themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity” in combat with an enemy of the United States.
  • The President normally presents the Medal of Honor at a formal ceremony in Washington, D.C. which is intended to represent the gratitude of the U.S. people, with posthumous presentations made to the primary next of kin. According to the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States, there have been 3,517 Medals of Honor awarded to the nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen since the decoration’s creation, with just less than half of them awarded for actions during the four years of the American Civil War.
  • The only military award or medal at the beginning of the Civil War (1861–1865) was the Certificate of Merit, which was awarded for the Mexican-American War. In the fall of 1861, a proposal for a battlefield decoration for valor was submitted to Winfield Scott, the general-in-chief of the army, by Lt. Colonel Edward D. Townsend, an assistant adjutant at the War Department and Scott’s chief of staff. Scott, however, was strictly against medals being awarded, which was the European tradition. After Scott retired in October 1861, the Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, adopted the idea of a decoration to recognize and honor distinguished naval service. On 9 December 1861, U.S. Senator (Iowa) James W. Grimes, Chairman on the Committee on Naval Affairs, proposed Public Resolution Number 82 (Bill 82: 37th Congress, Second Session, 12 Stat. 329) “to promote the efficiency of the Navy” which included a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor which was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on December 21, 1861 (Medal of Valor had been established for the Navy), “to be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry and other seamen-like qualities during the present war.” Secretary Wells directed the Philadelphia Mint to design the new military decoration. On May 15, 1862, the United States Navy Department ordered 175 medals ($1.85 each) with the words “Personal Valor” on the back from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. Senator Henry Wilson, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, introduced a resolution on February 15, 1862 for an Army Medal of Honor. The resolution (37th Congress, Second Session, 12 Stat. 623) was approved by Congress and signed into law on July 12, 1862 (“Medals of Honor” were established for enlisted men of the Army). This measure provided for awarding a medal of honor “to such non-commissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection.” During the war, Townsend would have some medals delivered to some recipients with a letter requesting acknowledgement of the “Medal of Honor”. The letter written and signed by Townsend on behalf of the Secretary of War, stated that the resolution was “to provide for the presentation of medals of honor to the enlisted men of the army and volunteer forces who have distinguished or may distinguish themselves in battle during the present rebellion.” By mid-November the War Department contracted with Philadelphia silversmith William Wilson and Son, who had been responsible for the Navy design, to prepare 2,000 Army medals ($2.00 each) to be cast at the mint. The Army version had “The Congress to” written on the back of the medal. Both versions were made of copper and coated with bronze, which “gave them a reddish tint”.
  • In 1863, Congress made the Medal of Honor a permanent decoration. On March 3, Medals of Honor were authorized for officers of the Army (37th Congress, Third Session, 12 Stat. 751). The Secretary of War first presented the Medal of Honor to six Union Army volunteers on March 25, 1863 in his office.
  • In 1990, the United States Congress designated March 25 of each year as National Medal of Honor Day.
  • The Army version is described by the Institute of Heraldry as “a gold five pointed star, each point tipped with trefoils, 1.5 inches [3.8 cm] wide, surrounded by a green laurel wreath and suspended from a gold bar inscribed VALOR, surmounted by an eagle. In the center of the star, Minerva’s head surrounded by the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. On each ray of the star is a green oak leaf. On the reverse is a bar engraved THE CONGRESS TO with a space for engraving the name of the recipient.” The pendant and suspension bar are made of gilding metal, with the eye, jump rings, and suspension ring made of red brass. The finish on the pendant and suspension bar is hard enameled, gold plated, and rose gold plated, with polished highlights.
  • The Navy version is described as “a five-pointed bronze star, tipped with trefoils containing a crown of laurel and oak. In the center is Minerva, personifying the United States, standing with left hand resting on fasces and right hand holding a shield blazoned with the shield from the coat of arms of the United States. She repulses Discord, represented by snakes. The medal is suspended from the flukes of an anchor.” It is made of solid red brass, oxidized and buffed.
  • The Air Force version is described as “within a wreath of green laurel, a gold five-pointed star, one point down, tipped with trefoils and each point containing a crown of laurel and oak on a green background. Centered on the star, an annulet of 34 stars is a representation of the head of the Statue of Liberty. The star is suspended from a bar inscribed with the word VALOR above an adaptation of the thunderbolt from the Air Force Coat of Arms.” The pendant is made of gilding metal. The connecting bar, hinge, and pin are made of bronze. The finish on the pendant and suspension bar is hard enameled, gold plated, and rose gold plated, with buffed relief.
  • A separate Coast Guard medal was authorized in 1963, but not yet designed or awarded.
  • A separate design for a version of the medal for the U.S. Air Force was created in 1956, authorized in 1960, and officially adopted on April 14, 1965. Previously, members of the U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Army Air Forces and the U.S. Air Force received the Army version of the medal.

A few facts regarding the award and water polo:

  • Scott Natatorium at the United States Naval Academy was built in 1924 and has been the home of the United States Naval Academy’s water polo team since the program’s resurrection prior to the 1982 season. Scott Natatorium is named for Rear Admiral Norman Scott, USN (Class of 1911), who as a Midshipman was very instrumental in the introduction of intercollegiate swimming to the Naval Academy during his final year as a student. He went on to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism displayed during the Battle of Savo Island on the night of November 12-13, 1942. Scott fought in both World Wars during his military career.
  • Tedford Harris Cann served as an officer in the United States Naval Reserve during World War I and earned the medal for saving his sinking ship. Cann’s swimming career began while he was still a teenager. He attended the High School of Commerce in New York City where he was captain of the basketball and swimming teams and competed in the New York Championships. At age 17 he defeated Hawaiian swimmer Duke Kahanamoku, an event which he later declared was a greater thrill than being awarded the Medal of Honor. While a student at New York University, Cann also excelled in track and field, basketball and football, where he played halfback as well as becoming a member of the Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta. He served in the Navy Reserve during World War I, initially as a Seaman. On November 5, 1917, while he was a member of the crew of the patrol vessel USS May (SP-164), Seaman Cann voluntarily swam into a flooded compartment and repeatedly dived beneath the surface until he had located and closed the leak that endangered the ship. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for this act. In April 1918, Cann was commissioned as an ensign in the Reserves, continuing to serve on the USS May into July. He spent the rest of World War I as an officer on the USS Noma (SP-131) and left the service shortly after the conflict’s end. Cann resumed his swimming career after the war. Coached by Matt Mann, Cann swam with The New York Athletic Club and later the Detroit Athletic Club. On April 10, 1920 in Detroit, Michigan, he set the world record in the 200 meter freestyle (then called the 220 yard freestyle) with a time of 2:19.8, breaking the previous record of 2:21.6 set by Norman Ross in 1916. His record would stand until 1922, when Johnny Weissmuller swam the distance in 2:15.6. Also in 1920, Cann won the Amateur Athletic Union National Championships in the 50, 100 and 200 meter races, becoming the first person to win all three of those titles in a single year. He had qualified for and was preparing to participate in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp when he was involved in a serious car accident. Early in the morning of May 11, 1920, Cann and two other Olympic-hopefuls were in a taxicab in New York City, returning home from a late night out, when the driver crashed into an elevated railroad pillar. One of Cann’s fellow passengers was fatally injured, and Cann’s leg was broken in six places. He missed the Olympics due to his injury, which required him to use crutches for more than a year and left him with a permanent limp. Although he was never able to swim as fast as he had before the accident, Cann took up water polo with much success. He participated in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris and played with The New York Athletic Club national champion polo team up to the early 1930s. To date, he is the only Olympic water polo player – and among only a few United States Olympians – to hold a Medal of Honor. Cann died at age 65 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington County, Virginia. Four years later, in 1967, he was posthumously inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a swimmer.
  • United States Military Academy alum Paul Bucha is believed to be the most recent CWPA alum to receive the award.  Bucha graduated in 1965 academically in the top two percent of his West Point Class, number two in Military Order of Merit and a two-time All-America and Captain of the Swim Team – while also competing as a member of the institution’s water polo team. Immediately upon graduation from West Point, he attended the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, receiving his MBA in 1967 and completing his Airborne and Ranger training between academic years. After Stanford, he reported for duty with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. to prepare for deployment to Vietnam as part of Operation Eagle Thrust. On March 16, 1968, Captain Bucha was the commanding officer of a reconnaissance-in-force mission that was inserted by helicopter near Phuoc Vinh, Binh Duong Province to locate and destroy an enemy stronghold. When his men were pinned down by heavy machine-gun fire, he crawled 40 meters through a hail of enemy fire to destroy the bunker with grenades by himself. Though wounded, upon seeing his unit’s perimeter was about to be overrun, he ordered a withdrawal while providing covering fire. At one point during the night, he ordered his men to “play dead” while he brought in friendly fire on the enemy. He also stood, in full view of the enemy, with a flashlight to direct the evacuation of three helicopters carrying the most seriously wounded from the field of battle. For his actions, Captain Bucha received, among other decorations, the Bronze Star with V and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor. Upon his return to the U.S., he reported for assignment as Assistant Professor of Managerial Economics at West Point. After resigning his Army commission in 1972, he worked as chief of operations in Iran for Ross Perot’s company, Electronic Data Systems (EDS). When several EDS employees were detained during the 1979 Iranian Revolution, he was involved in the effort to free them by a team of Electronic Data Systems executives led by retired Col. Arthur D. Simons.  The story was detailed in the Ken Follett international No. 1 bestseller book, “On Wings of Eagles” and a 1986 five-part televised mini-series. Bucha then started his own company which found American partners for foreign investors. With a French real estate developer he formed a joint venture which began the development of Port Liberté, New Jersey. He later worked as chairman of the board of Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation and was president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Bucha is a member of the 50th Anniversary Commission of the Vietnam War and is a member of the US Army Ranger Hall of Fame. He is a Gold Medallion Inductee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Distinguished Graduate of the United States Military Academy Award. He is also a recipient of the Distinguished Military Service Award from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  • Arguably the most famous CWPA alum to receive the award is Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare – a United States Navy aviator during World War II and the namesake of one of the United States’ busiest airports. Born on March 13, 1914 in St. Louis, Missouri to Edward Joseph O’Hare and Selma A. (Lauth) O’Hare. O’Hare had two sisters, Patricia and Marilyn. When their parents divorced in 1927, Butch O’Hare and his sisters stayed with their mother Selma in St. Louis while their father Edward moved to Chicago. Butch’s father was a lawyer and accountant who worked closely with mobster Al Capone. Edward O’Hare turned against him and helped convict Al Capone of tax evasion. In 1932, Butch O’Hare graduated from the Western Military Academy. In 1933, he was nominated to the Naval Academy from Missouri. On July 24, 1933, he entered the Naval Academy as a midshipman and was active in water polo at Annapolis. Midshipman O’Hare graduated #256 of 323 Midshipmen on June 3, 1937. In 1937, O’Hare’s roommate wrote, “After five years of life in a military school, Ed set his course toward the noblest of callings. It did not take him long to become oriented for he possesses the trait of being at home wherever he chances to be. Like the sea-lion, Ed soon found himself in the water working out with the suicide-squad. His love for the water, however, was outweighed by the temptations and inducements of the radiator club. The possessor of a winning personality, Ed has found no trouble in making lasting friendships; he is always ready with a pat on the back when you need it most.” From June 1937 until 1939, Ensign O’Hare was assigned to battleship USS New Mexico. In June 1939, Ensign O’Hare was assigned under instruction at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., to become a naval aviator. In November 1939, Ensign O’Hare’s father was gunned down in the streets of Chicago, most likely by Al Capone’s gunmen. During Capone’s Federal tax evasion trial in 1931 and 1932, O’Hare’s father provided incriminating evidence which helped finally put Capone away. There is speculation that O’Hare’s cooperation was in exchange for the younger O’Hare’s appointment into the Naval Academy. Whatever the motivation, the elder O’Hare was gunned down in his car, a week before Capone was released from incarceration. Ensign O’Hare finished his naval aviation training May 2, 1940. On July 1, 1940, Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) O’Hare was assigned to Fighter Squadron Three (VF-3) aboard aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. Lieutenant John Thach, then Executive Officer of VF-3, discovered O’Hare’s exceptional flying abilities and closely mentored the promising young fighter pilot. Lieutenant Thach, who later developed the Thach Weave aerial combat tactic used to this day, emphasized gunnery in his training. In 1941 more than half of all VF-3 pilots, including LTJG O’Hare, earned the E for gunnery excellence. In early 1941, Fighting Squadron Three transferred to aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) while Saratoga entered overhaul. On Monday morning, July 21, 1941, O’Hare made his first flight in a Grumman F4F Wildcat. Following stops in Washington and Dayton, he landed in St. Louis on Tuesday. Visiting the wife of a friend in a hospital, O’Hare met his future wife, the nurse Rita Wooster, proposing to her the first time he met her. After O’Hare took instruction in Roman Catholicism to convert, he and Rita married in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Phoenix, Ariz. on Saturday, September 6, 1941. For their honeymoon, they sailed to Hawaii on separate ships with O’Hare on the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. However, O’Hare was recalled to duty the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On Sunday evening, January 11, 1942, as Lieutenant O’Hare and other VF-3 officers ate dinner in the wardroom, carrier Saratoga was damaged by a Japanese torpedo hit while patrolling southwest of Hawaii, she spent five months in repair on the West Coast, so VF-3 squadron transferred to the USS Lexington on January 31, 1942. On February 20, 1942, Lieutenant O’Hare was the only Navy fighter pilot available in the air when Japanese bombers were attacking his aircraft carrier. Lexington, which had been assigned the task of penetrating enemy-held waters north of New Ireland. While still 450 miles from the harbor at Rabaul, the Lexington picked up an unknown aircraft on radar 35 miles from the ship. A six-plane combat patrol was launched, two fighters being directed to investigate the contact. These two planes, under command of LCDR John S. Thach shot down a four-engine Kawanishi H6K4 Type 97 (“Mavis”) flying boat about 43 miles out at 1112. Later two other planes of the combat patrol were sent to another radar contact 35 miles ahead, shooting down a second Mavis at 1202. A third contact was made 80 miles out, but reversed course and disappeared. At 1542 a jagged vee signal drew the attention of the Lexington’s radar operator. The contact then was lost, but reappeared at 1625 forty-seven miles west and closing fast. Lieutenant O’Hare, flying a F4F Wildcat BuNo 4031 “White F-15”, was one of several pilots launched to intercept. Of the incoming nine Japanese Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bombers, at this time five had already been shot down. The Lexington’s radar picked up a second formation of Bettys only 12 miles out, on the disengaged side of the task force, completely unopposed. The carrier had only two Wildcats left to confront the intruders: Lieutenant O’Hare and his wingman LTJG Marion W. “Duff” Dufilho. As the Lexington’s only protection, they raced eastward and arrived 1,500 feet above eight attacking Bettys nine miles out. LTJG Dufilho’s guns were jammed and wouldn’t fire, leaving only Lieutenant O’Hare to protect the carrier. The enemy formation was flying very close together and using their rear facing guns for mutual protection. Lieutenant O’Hare’s Wildcat, armed with four 50-caliber guns, with 450 rounds per gun, had enough ammunition for about 34 seconds of firing. Lieutenant O’Hare’s initial maneuver was a high-side diving attack employing accurate deflection shooting. He accurately placed bursts of gunfire into a Betty’s wing fuel tanks; when the stricken craft on the right side of the formation abruptly lurched to starboard, he ducked to the other side of the V formation and aimed at the enemy bomber on the extreme left. When he made his third and fourth firing passes, the Japanese planes were close enough to the American ships for them to fire their anti-aircraft guns. Lieutenant O’Hare managed to shoot down five bombers, and damage a sixth. The three survivors managed to drop their ordnance, but all three bombs missed. LCDR Thach arrived at the scene with other pilots of the flight, later reporting that at one point he saw three of the enemy bombers falling in flames at the same time. With his ammunition expended, Lieutenant O’Hare returned to his carrier, and was fired on accidentally but with no effect by a .50-caliber machine gun from the Lexington. Lieutenant O’Hare’s fighter had, in fact, been hit by only one round during his flight, the single bullet hole in F-15’s port wing disabling the airspeed indicator. According to LCDR Thach, Lieutenant O’Hare then approached the gun platform to calmly say to the embarrassed anti-aircraft gunner who had fired at him, “Son, if you don’t stop shooting at me when I’ve got my wheels down, I’m going to have to report you to the gunnery officer.” LCDR Thach calculated that Lieutenant O’Hare had used only sixty rounds of ammunition for each bomber he destroyed; an impressive feat of marksmanship. In the opinion of Vice Admiral Wilson Brown Jr. and of Captain Frederick C. Sherman, commanding the Lexington, Lieutenant O’Hare’s actions may have saved the carrier from serious damage or even loss. The Lexington returned after the New Guinea raid to Pearl Harbor for repairs and to have her obsolete 8-inch guns removed, transferring some of her F4F-3 fighter planes to the USS Yorktown including the plane “White F-15” that Lieutenant O’Hare had flown during his famous mission. The pilot assigned to fly this aircraft to Yorktown was told by Lieutenant O’Hare just before takeoff to take good care of his plane. Moments later, the fighter rolled down the deck and into the water; the pilot was recovered, but “White F-15” was lost. On March 26, 1942, Lieutenant O’Hare was greeted at Pearl Harbor by a horde of reporters and radio announcers. During a radio broadcast in Honolulu, he enjoyed the opportunity to say hello to Rita…”Here’s a great big radio hug, the best I can do under the circumstances” and to his mother… “Love from me to you”. On April 8, 1942, he thanked the Grumman Aircraft Corporation plant at Bethpage (where the F4F Wildcat was made) for 1,150 cartons of Lucky Strike cigarettes, a grand total of 230,000 smokes. Ecstatic Grumman workers had passed the hat to buy the cigarettes in appreciation of O’Hare’s combat victories in one of their F4F Wildcats. A loyal Camel smoker, Lieutenant O’Hare opened a carton, deciding, that it was the least he could do for the good people back in Bethpage. In his letter to the Grumman employees he wrote, “You build them, we’ll fly them and between us, we can’t be beaten.” It was a sentiment he would voice often in the following two months. By shooting down five bombers Lieutenant O’Hare became a flying ace, was promoted to Lieutenant Commander, and became the first naval aviator to be awarded the Medal of Honor. With President Franklin D. Roosevelt looking on, Lieutenant O’Hare’s wife Rita placed the Medal around his neck. Lieutenant O’Hare was described as “modest, inarticulate, humorous, terribly nice and more than a little embarrassed by the whole thing”. O’Hare was not employed on combat duty from early 1942 until late 1943 as returned to St. Louis for Welcome Home on April 25, 1942. A newspaper headline read, “60,000 give O’Hare a hero’s welcome here.” The United States in 1942 badly needed a live hero, and Butch O’Hare was a young, handsome naval aviator, so he participated in several war bond tours the following months. On June 19, 1942 O’Hare assumed command of VF-3, relieving Lieutenant Commander Thach. He was relocated to Maui, Hawaii, to instruct other pilots in combat tactics. U.S. Navy policy was to use its best combat pilots to train newer pilots, An anecdote by one of the training pilots about O’Hare, goes: “[O’Hare] was a great swimmer and spear fisherman, and he insisted that the squadron swim with him. Swimming with Butch O’Hare meant that at eight o’clock in the morning, you swam out into the ocean off Maui; he would still be out there at three in the afternoon! If he got hungry, Butch would roll over and dive, and the next thing you knew, he would come up with a fish of some sort. Then he’d just roll over and lie on his back like an otter and eat the thing raw! He really impressed us with that! One day, he came back to the surface with an octopus draped over his arm. He said, ‘Now, you have to learn how to kill these things, boys: you bite ’em right behind the eye.’ And with that, he chomped down! The octopus has some sort of spinal cord there, and biting it there does kill it! Then we had to go back to the beach where Butch would put these things in a frying pan with a little oil and some salt and stir them around. He enjoyed them, but they tasted like old rubber tires to me!” Returning to combat in 1943 in command of squadron VF-6 on the light carrier USS Independence, he added to his list of awards by earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and later claimed a Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Flying Cross. According to orders dated September 17, 1943, October found Butch O’Hare as Commander Air Group (CAG) commanding Air Group Six on the famous USS Enterprise. Functioning as CAG, O’Hare was given command of the entire Enterprise air group of 100 pilots. Faced with U.S. daylight air superiority, the Japanese quickly developed tactics to send torpedo-armed bombers on night missions from their bases in the Marianas against the U.S. aircraft carriers causing the United States to begin the first night-time aircraft based counterstrikes. On the night of November 26, 1943, O’Hare volunteered to lead a mission to conduct the first-ever Navy nighttime fighter attack from an aircraft carrier to intercept a large force of enemy torpedo bombers. When the call came to man the fighters, Butch O’Hare was eating. He grabbed up part of his supper in his fist and started running for the ready room. He was dressed in loose marine coveralls. The ‘Black Panthers’, as the night fighters were dubbed, took off before dusk and flew out into the incoming mass of Japanese planes. Confusion and complications endangered the success of the mission as the deadly danger of friendly fire in the dark caused potential problems. A Japanese bomber rose above and almost directly behind O’Hare’s 6 o’clock position causing one of the United States aircraft to open fire with a Japanese gunner firing back. O’Hare’s plane was apparently was caught in a crossfire and fell out of the sky. Reports from other planes noted that the plane released something that fell almost vertically at a speed too slow for anything but a parachute. Then something “whitish-gray” appeared below, perhaps the splash of the aircraft plunging into the sea. After dawn a three-plane search was made, but no trace of O’Hare or his aircraft was found.  O’Hare was then reported missing in action. For 54 years there was no definitive answer as to whether he had been brought down by friendly fire or the Japanese bomber’s nose gunner. As O’Hare went missing on November 26, 1943, and was declared dead a year later, his widow Rita received her husband’s posthumous decorations, a Purple Heart and the Navy Cross on November 26, 1944. On January 27, 1945 the United States Navy named a destroyer USS O’Hare in his honor. The ship was launched June 22, 1945 with his mother, Selma O’Hare, as the sponsor. O’Hare was decommissioned on October 31, 1973, then transferred on loan and later sold to the Spanish Navy. In 1992, the Spanish Navy decommissioned and scrapped the ship. Further, as a tribute to Butch O’Hare, on September 19, 1949, the Chicago-area Orchard Depot Airport was renamed O’Hare International Airport. A training F4F Wildcat similar to the one flown by Butch O’Hare was restored after recovery from Lake Michigan. It is currently on display in Terminal 2.  The airport became famous as the first World’s Busiest Airport of the jet age, holding that distinction from 1963 to 1998; today, it is the world’s sixth-busiest airport, serving 83 million passengers in 2018. The same month as the renaming of the airport, O’Hare’s name was engraved on the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific “Wall of the Missing” in Honolulu. In March 1963, President John F. Kennedy did a wreath-laying ceremony at O’Hare Airport to honor Butch O’Hare. The Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, honored O’Hare with an F4F-3A on display and a plaque dedicated by the USS Yorktown CV-10 association, “May Butch O’Hare rest in peace…”  Further, in Memorial Hall at the United States Naval Academy, O’Hare is remembered with his name is engraved under the “Don’t Give Up the Ship” Flag honoring those alumni killed in action.
Collegiate Water Polo Association