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First Name: David

Last Name: Kingsley

Birthplace: Portland, OR, USA

Gender: Male

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

Home of Record: Portland, OR
Middle Name: Richard

Date of Birth: 27 June 1918

Date of Death: 23 June 1944

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served: 1942 - 1944
David Richard Kingsley

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


David R. Kingsley
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Second Lieutenant David Richard Kingsley (27 June 1918 - 23 June 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 actions during World War II.

David R. Kingsley was born on 27 June 1918 in Portland, OR. He also joined the U.S. Army Air Forces from Portland, OR. On 23 June 1944, was a Second Lieutenant serving as a bombardier in the 97th Bombardment Group, Fifteenth Air Force. On that day, during a raid over Ploie┼čti, Romania, his aircraft was badly damaged and several crewmen wounded by fire from enemy fighters. When the pilot gave the order to bail out of the crippled plane, Kingsley voluntarily gave up his parachute to SSgt. Michael Sullivan, whose chute had been lost. Kingsley was killed when the aircraft crashed a short time later. For his selfless action, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 97th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force.

Place and date: Ploesti Raid, Rumania, 23 June 1944.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, 23 June 1944 near Ploesti, Rumania, while flying as bombardier of a B17 type aircraft. On the bomb run 2d Lt. Kingsley's aircraft was severely damaged by intense flak and forced to drop out of formation but the pilot proceeded over the target and 2d Lt. Kingsley successfully dropped his bombs, causing severe damage to vital installations. The damaged aircraft, forced to lose altitude and to lag behind the formation, was aggressively attacked by 3 ME-109 aircraft, causing more damage to the aircraft and severely wounding the tail gunner in the upper arm. The radio operator and engineer notified 2d Lt. Kingsley that the tail gunner had been wounded and that assistance was needed to check the bleeding. 2d Lt. Kingsley made his way back to the radio room, skillfully applied first aid to the wound, and succeeded in checking the bleeding. The tail gunner's parachute harness and heavy clothes were removed and he was covered with blankets, making him as comfortable as possible. Eight ME-109 aircraft again aggressively attacked 2d Lt. Kingsley's aircraft and the ball turret gunner was wounded by 20mm. shell fragments. He went forward to the radio room to have 2d Lt. Kingsley administer first aid. A few minutes later when the pilot gave the order to prepare to bail out, 2d Lt. Kingsley immediately began to assist the wounded gunners in putting on their parachute harness. In the confusion the tail gunner's harness, believed to have been damaged, could not be located in the bundle of blankets and flying clothes which had been removed from the wounded men. With utter disregard for his own means of escape, 2d Lt. Kingsley unhesitatingly removed his parachute harness and adjusted it to the wounded tail gunner. Due to the extensive damage caused by the accurate and concentrated 20mm fire by the enemy aircraft the pilot gave the order to bail out, as it appeared that the aircraft would disintegrate at any moment. 2d Lt. Kingsley aided the wounded men in bailing out and when last seen by the crewmembers he was standing on the bomb bay catwalk. The aircraft continued to fly on automatic pilot for a short distance, then crashed and burned. His body was later found in the wreckage. 2d Lt. Kingsley by his gallant heroic action was directly responsible for saving the life of the wounded gunner.


The Klamath Falls Airport in Klamath Falls, OR, was named Kingsley Field in honor of Kingsley's sacrifice.

Death and Burial

Second Lieutenant David R. Kingsley was killed in action on 23 June 1944. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 34, Lot 4786.

Honoree ID: 1482   Created by: MHOH




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