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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Femoyer

Birthplace: Huntington, WV, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: U.S. Army Air Forces (1941 - 1947)

Middle Name: Edward

Date of Birth: 31 October 1921

Date of Death: 02 November 1944

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served: 1942-1944
Robert Edward Femoyer

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Robert Edward Femoyer
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Second Lieutenant Robert Edward Femoyer (31 October 1921 - 2 November 1944) was a U.S. Army Air Forces officer who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic services during World War II. He is the only navigator to be awarded the Medal. Also, Femoyer is one of only seven known Eagle Scouts who received the Medal of Honor. The others are Aquilla J. Dyess, Eugene B. Fluckey, Mitchell Paige, Benjamin L. Salomon, Leo K. Thorsness and Jay Zeamer, Jr.

Robert Edward Femoyer was born on 31 October 1921 at Huntington, WV. An Eagle Scout, he attended Virginia Tech, Class of 1944.

Femoyer joined the Enlisted Reserve Corps on 11 November 1942. He was called to active duty at Jacksonville, FL, in February 1943 and took basic training at Miami Beach, FL. He became an aviation cadet in July 1943, but failed his pilot training at the Mississippi Institute of Aeronautics in Jackson, MS. In 1944, he graduated from the Army Air Force (AAF) Flexible Gunnery School at Fort Myers, FL, and the AAF Navigation School at Selman Field, LA. He went to the European Theater of Operations in September 1944, as a Second Lieutenant, and was assigned to the 447th Bomb Group's 711th Squadron.

Six weeks later, on 2 November 1944, Femoyer was serving as navigator on a bombing mission over Merseburg, Germany, and he was wounded by enemy aircraft fire that seriously damaged his B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. In spite of extreme pain and great loss of blood he refused morphine in order to keep his mental faculties clear. For two and half-hours he guided the lone bomber through six changes in course around enemy antiaircraft concentrations. Bleeding steadily, he worked with amazing clarity despite pain described as "almost beyond the realm of human endurance." As the crippled aircraft crossed safely over the English Channel, Second Lieutenant Robert Femoyer finally allowed an injection of morphine. Thirty minutes after landing he died of wounds. For his heroic actions during this mission, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, 711th Bombing Squadron, 447th Bomber Group, U.S. Army Air Corps.

Place and date: Over Merseburg, Germany, 2 November 1944.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty near Merseburg, Germany, on 2 November 1944. While on a mission, the bomber, of which 2d Lt. Femoyer was the navigator, was struck by 3 enemy antiaircraft shells. The plane suffered serious damage and 2d Lt. Femoyer was severely wounded in the side and back by shell fragments which penetrated his body. In spite of extreme pain and great loss of blood he refused an offered injection of morphine. He was determined to keep his mental faculties clear in order that he might direct his plane out of danger and so save his comrades. Not being able to arise from the floor, he asked to be propped up in order to enable him to see his charts and instruments. He successfully directed the navigation of his lone bomber for 2 1/2 hours so well it avoided enemy flak and returned to the field without further damage. Only when the plane had arrived in the safe area over the English Channel did he feel that he had accomplished his objective; then, and only then, he permitted an injection of a sedative. He died shortly after being removed from the plane. The heroism and self-sacrifice of 2d Lt. Femoyer are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Death and Burial

Second Lieutenant Robert Edward Femoyer was killed in action on 2 November 1944. He is buried at Greenlawn Cemetery in Jacksonville, Duval County, FL, in Section 8, Lot 2.

Honoree ID: 1385   Created by: MHOH




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