Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: William

Last Name: Stambaugh

Birthplace: Martin, Floyd, KY, US

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Aviation Radioman Petty Officer 1st Class

Home of Record: KY
Middle Name: Henry

Date of Birth: 06 July 1920

Date of Death: 05 June 1943 (Presumed)

MIA Date: 04 June 1942

Rank or Rate: Petty Officer First Class

Years Served: 1937-1943

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


William Henry Stambaugh

Aviation Radioman First Class, United States Navy

Distinguished Flying Cross & Purple Heart

WILLIAM HENRY STAMBAUGH was the eldest child of Hubert Cromwell and Delora Ethel (Brown) Stambaugh from Johnson county, KY who married about 1916. Not long after they were married Hubert Stambaugh enlisted in the US Army. He served in France during WWI with the 315th Field Artillery Medical Detachment, 80th Div., William's younger siblings were James Edward, Kenneth Brown, Peggy Jo, Irma Irene, Robert Gordon "Bobby ", and Patricia Ann Stambaugh. William attended Paintsville, KY high school until 1937. William married Lois Patricia (Kelly) Huntley on 18 Feb 1941 in Yuma County, AZ.

William Stambaugh applied for enlistment in the US Navy on 21 Oct 1937 in Ashland, KY. Hubert Stambaugh gave his consent on 4 Nov 1937 for his son, William Henry Stambaugh, to enlist as a minor under 21 years of age, in the US Navy (NSN:287-22-69) as an Apprentice Seaman (AS) to serve until 5 July 1941. After completing his physical and necessary paperwork, William enlisted on 08 Dec 1937 at the Naval Recruiting Station, Louisville, KY. He reported the next day to the Naval Training Station (NTS), Naval Operating Base (NOB), Norfolk, VA to begin recruiting training. During recruit training Stambaugh was selected to attended the Class (A) Service School (Communications). It was noted that he was especially qualified to strike for Radioman, Quartermaster or Signalman. William completed recruit training at NTS on 11 Mar 1938. He was granted ten days of leave and eight days of travel time. After he returned from leave on 30 Mar, AS Stambaugh was advanced in rate to Seaman Second Class (S2c) on 08 April 1938. He began Radioman Class A Service School in Norfolk, VA on 23 May 1938. S2c Stambaugh completed "A" school on 16 Sep 1938 finishing 7th in a class of 29 students. His final mark was 3.65/4.00. Stambaugh reported for duty to Scouting Squadron Six (VS-6) on 30 Sep 1938 at the Naval Air Station, Norfolk. On 17 Dec 1938, he was granted 10 days leave over the Christmas Holiday.

On 16 Dec 1939, he was advanced two grades in rate from S2c to Radioman Third Class (RM3). On 01 May 1940 he was examined and found fully qualified as an aircraft radioman. On 15 May 1940 he was granted 12 days of leave to visit his home while he was in San Diego. While he was home he encountered storms that prevented him from returning to his command on time. He requested an extension of his leave via telegram.

On 12 April 1941, Stambaugh departed on leave for 12 days. His leave address was 8638 Hickory St., Los Angeles, CA. On 16 May 1941, RM3 Stambaugh was advanced in rate to Radioman Second Class (RM2).

At the expiration of his enlistment he was retained for several months according to directives for public interest. He was honorably discharged on 22 Sep 1941 at the Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor, to reenlist on 23 Sep 1941 for an additional period of service of four years.

William reenlisted in the US Navy on 23 Sept 1941 in Pearl Harbor, T.H. William's military records indicate that on 8 Nov 1941 he was transferred from Scouting Squadron Six (VS-6) on USS Enterprise (CV-6) to the receiving station, Pearl Harbor, T.H. for further transfer to Asiatic Station. On 28 Nov 1941 he was transferred to the USS Niagara (PG-52) for further transfer to Asiatic Station for duty. Then, according to a Report of Passengers of U.S.S. Niagara (PG-52) dated 6 Jan 1942, RM2 William H Stambaugh returned to Pearl Harbor for general reassignment.

Petty Officer Stambaugh's orders to Asiatic Station were cancelled because of the outbreak of the war. Stambaugh was send back to VS-6 on Enterprise where he reported for duty on 08 Jan 1942. On 09 January 1942, Admiral Nimitz directed Admiral Halsey to raid the southern Marshall and northern Gilbert area employing air attack and ship bombardment. On 01 Feb 1942, Enterprise with TF 8 were to attack Kwajalein, Wotje, and Maloelap in the Marshall Islands marking the first offensive action by US forces in the Pacific. Flight quarters sounded at 0345 and not long after 0400 the word, “Pilots, man your planes!” was passed. Launching began at 0445 with the fighters for the combat air patrol (CAP) launching first. They were followed by thirty-seven dive-bombers; eighteen each from Bombing Six and Scouting Six, plus Lcdr Brigham Young in the CEAG plane. The last to launch were the nine bomb-armed Devastators of Torpedo Six. Stambaugh was assigned as a gunner in 6-S-9 with Ens. Percy Wendell Forman as pilot. They flew in the first division led by Lcdr. Hal Hopping, VS-6 commanding officer. Scouting six was specifically assigned to attack the Roi airfield using glide bombing procedures.

The squadron was first to push over at fourteen thousand feet at 0705. Below, enemy anti-aircraft guns began firing putting black bursts of AA fire into the sky, and Japanese Type 96 fighters (Mitsubishi A5M “Claudes”) launched from the Roi airfield. Each SBD took station behind and to the right of Hopping’s leading bomber. Scouting Six paid a high price in its first attack on Japanese-held territory, losing four SBDs and their crews. Damage estimates included six planes destroyer on the ground, two fighters shot down in aerial combat, two hangers bombed and strafed, one large building destroyed, six storehouses destroyed, and damage to shore installations. The last ten SBDs of Scouting Six were recovered by Enterprise about 1000 including Ens. Forman and RM2 Stambaugh.

On 16 Feb 1942 his rating was changed from RM2 to ARM 2c. Stambaugh received a meritorious advancement to Aviation Radioman First Class (ARM1c) on 2 May 1942 for gallantry in action during the USS Enterprise (CV-6) raids on the Marshall Islands on 01 Feb 1942. His promotion was effective 01 Feb 1942. He also participated in the attacks on Wake Island on 24 Feb 1942 and was serving in VS-6 during the attack on Marcus Island of 04 Mar 1942.

The next document that named Petty Officer Stambaugh was the Tactical Organization for Attack (TOA) from Scouting Squadron Six dated June 2, 1942. It contains the names of the pilots and gunners in each of the three divisions and the Photographic Section. It was submitted by Lt C.R. Ware and approved by the Commanding Officer, Lt. W.E. Gallagher.

Early on the morning of 4 Jun 1942, Lt Ware and his radioman/gunner, ARM1 William Henry Stambaugh, flying in a Douglas Dauntless SBD-2 dive bomber (6-S-4), with other attack aircraft of Air Group Six, as well as planes from Air Groups from Hornet and Yorktown, launched to intercept and attack a large Japanese Carrier force approaching Midway. After VS-6 made a successful attack on the Japanese carrier Kaga, Lt Ware and five other planes from his squadron joined up to return to Enterprise. Enroute home Lt Ware's group was attacked by six Japanese “Zero” fighters that broke away from Japanese carrier Hiryu’s dive-bomber counter-strike that was heading toward the carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5). Ware had earlier improvised a tactic of turning into the attacking Japanese Zeros, and did so again, creating an arc with the trailing SBD’s that enabled all rear seat gunners to concentrate their fire on the leading Zeros. Although no American planes were shot down their evasive maneuvers used up precious fuel. After the attack Ware's group split up as they attempted to find the Enterprise. Lt Ware's section, very low on fuel, was never seen again. Lt Ware and his gunner/radioman, ARM1 William H Stambaugh's remains were unrecoverable. Stambaugh was declared missing in action along with his pilot on 04 Jun 1942. Both were declared "presumed dead" one year and one day later on 5 Jun 1943. His wife was notified on 18 Jun 1942 by telegram from the Navy Department that her husband was missing in the service to his country.


Meritorious Promotion Citation:

For gallantry in action. As an aircraft gunner in a Scouting Squadron Six airplane Stambaugh, William Henry, ARM1c participated in attacks on the Marshall Islands on 01 Feb 1942. Although subjected to intense antiaircraft fire, he kept his pilot continuously informed as to the situation astern permitting the pilot to devote his entire attention to pressing home an effective attack. He strafed ground objectives whenever the opportunity presented itself. When attacked by enemy fighters, he coolly and effectively fired his machine gun and drove off the enemy aircraft permitting his pilot to take evasive action and return safely to the ship. His courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the service.


ARM1 Stambaugh was awarded (Posthumously) a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). He also received a Purple Heart medal, the Presidential Unit Citation and ribbon, American Defense Service Medal w/Fleet clasp, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two battle stars, World War II Victory Medal and the Honorable Service Lapel Button.


The DFC citation reads:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to William H. Stambaugh, Aviation Radioman First Class, United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Gunner of an airplane in a Scouting Squadron in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of Midway, 4 to 6 June 1942. With heroic and meritorious devotion to duty, he rendered valuable assistance to his pilot by detailing continuous specific and comprehensive information concerning the disposition and movements of enemy Japanese units. His courage and cool determination in carrying out this vital task in the face of furious and repeated enemy attacks were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


The Presidential Unit Citation reads:

For consistently outstanding performance and distinguished achievement during repeated action against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific war area, 7 December 1941, to 15 November 1942. Participating in nearly every major carrier engagement in the first year of the war, the Enterprise and her air group, exclusive of far-flung destruction of hostile shore installations throughout the battle area, did sink or damage on her own a total of 35 Japanese vessels and shot down a total of 185 Japanese aircraft. Her aggressive spirit and superb combat efficiency are fitting tribute to the officers and men who so gallantly established her as an ahead bulwark in the defense of the American nation.

Actions of the Enterprise mentioned in the citation include the Gilbert and Marshalls of 01 Feb 1942; Wake Island raid, 24 Feb 1942; Marcus Island raid, 04 Mar 1942; Battle of Midway, 4-6 Jun 1942; Occupation of Guadalcanal, 7-8 Aug 1942; Battle of Stewart Islands, 24 Aug 1942; Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, 26 Oct 1942; and Battle of Solomon Islands, 14-15 Nov 1942.


His family also received a scroll from President Franklin Roosevelt in commemoration Petty Officer Stambaugh. The citation reads: In grateful memory of William Henry Stambaugh, who died in the service of his country, SEA, Pacific Area, ATTACHED U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, 5 JUNE 1943 (Presumed). He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives -- in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.

(Signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt,

President of the United States


Task Force 16 Citation Recognizing its contribution to the Doolittle Raid, 18 April 1942

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Second World War, it is appropriate that we take time to reflect on the unique and daring accomplishments achieved early in the war by Task Force 16. Sailing westward under sealed orders in April 1942, only four months after the devastating raid on Pearl Harbor, Task Force 16, carrying sixteen Army B-25 bombers, proceeded into history. Facing adverse weather and under constant threat of discovery before bombers could be launched to strike the Japanese homeland, the crews of the ships and LTC Doolittle's bombers persevered. On 18 April 1942 at 14:45, perseverance produced success as radio broadcasts from Japan confirmed the success of the raids. These raids were an enormous boost to the morale of the American people in those early and dark days of the war and a harbinger of the future for the Japanese High Command that had so foolishly awakened "The Sleeping Giant." These exploits, which so inspired the service men and women and the nation live on today and are remembered when the necessity of success against all odds is required.

(Signed) John H.Dalton

Secretary of the Navy

15 May 1995


Combat Action Ribbon (CR) note:

None of the Navy/Marine flight crews in the Battle of Midway were eligible for or were awarded the Combat Action Ribbon (CR). See Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual (SECNAVINST M-1650.1 of 16 Aug 2019, Appendix 2C.1.c (3) Amplifying Guidance). It reads in part, “The CR will not be awarded in connection with aerial flight, . . . “ The CR was established in 1969 and made retroactive to 07 Dec 1941. According to the Awards Manual, when deemed appropriate, the award for aerial combat is the Air Medal.


According to WWII Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Casualty listings for CA on p. 86. Stambaugh, William Henry, Aviation Radioman 1c, USN. Wife, Mrs Lois Patricia Stambaugh, 8612 Fir St., Los Angeles.

(Bio #192 compiled by Gerry Lawton [GML470/G47] ]

Find A Grave Memorial Page#56132434

Honoree ID: 102486   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image