Captain Jay Zeamer, Jr.
U. S. Army Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group, 65th Bombardment Squadron
B-17 Flying Fortress Pilot
Born in Carlisle, PA. Joined the U. S. Army at Machias, Maine. Assigned as a B-17 pilot with the 5th Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group, 65th Bombardment Squadron flying bombing and reconnaissance missions over New Guinea, New Britain, New Ireland and the Northern Solomons.
On June 16, 1943 took off piloting B-17E "Lucy" 41-2666 on a solo photographic reconnaissance mission over Buka Airfield. After completing the photographic run, Intercepted by roughly twenty Zero fighters and survived a forty minute dog fight against the enemy fighters. Although wounded, Zeamer refused medical aid until the enemy had broken combat. He then turned over the controls, but continued to exercise command despite lapses into unconsciousness. Zeamer earned the Medal of Honor on January 4, 1944.
Medal of Honor (G.O. No.: 1, 4 January 1944)
Citation: "On 16 June 1943, Maj. Zeamer (then Capt.) volunteered as pilot of a bomber on an important photographic mapping mission covering the formidably defended area in the vicinity of Buka, Solomon Islands. While photographing the Buka airdrome. his crew observed about 20 enemy fighters on the field, many of them taking off. Despite the certainty of a dangerous attack by this strong force, Maj. Zeamer proceeded with his mapping run, even after the enemy attack began. In the ensuing engagement, Maj. Zeamer sustained gunshot wounds in both arms and legs, 1 leg being broken. Despite his injuries, he maneuvered the damaged plane so skillfully that his gunners were able to fight off the enemy during a running fight which lasted 40 minutes. The crew destroyed at least 5 hostile planes, of which Maj. Zeamer himself shot down 1. Although weak from loss of blood, he refused medical aid until the enemy had broken combat. He then turned over the controls, but continued to exercise command despite lapses into unconsciousness, and directed the flight to a base 580 miles away. In this voluntary action, Maj. Zeamer, with superb skill, resolution, and courage, accomplished a mission of great value."
Do you have photos or additional information to add?