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First Name: Jack

Last Name: Conger

Birthplace: IA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: E

Date of Birth: 06 April 1921

Date of Death: 22 April 2006

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
Jack E. Conger

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Jack E. Conger was born April 6, 1921 near Orient, Iowa. After high school, he attended the South Dakota School of Mines, in Rapid City studying metallurgy. Conger enlisted in the United States Marines in March 1941. On October 25, 1942, his division sank two Japanese destroyers. As the planes returned to Guadalcanal, they encountered several Japanese Zeros. Conger, low on ammunition, shot down one plane, then found himself confronted by another. With no ammunition at his disposal, he attempted to take off the enemy’s tail by clipping it with his propeller. He narrowly missed his mark, sending both planes into the water. Rescued by a nearby ship, Conger attempted to rescue the Japanese pilot, but the pilot drew a pistol and fired at Conger. The wet gun misfired. He again attempted to fire, this time to take his own life, but that also failed. Frustrated, Conger knocked the man unconscious and hauled him aboard, taking the first Japanese pilot prisoner. Colonel Conger distinguished himself by earning a double-ace designation. His record included 10.5 air-to-air kills, one destroyer and another assist, and four enemy planes on the ground. The citations also match the record – The Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, two Air Medals, and two Purple Hearts. Between 1942 and 1944, Conger completed 171 combat missions covering 251 air-hours. Jack Conger, revered as a hero and a legend, retired from the Marines in 1964. He died in 2006.

A native of Iowa, Jack was a highly decorated pilot, flying the F4U Corsair during World War II and the Korean conflict. He was awarded the Double Ace with Navy Cross, a Purple Heart and was a member of the Golden Eagles. Jack was also a member of the American Fighter Aces, Fleet Reserve #141, and Havelock VFW #7315. He was a humble man with a great sense of humor. Jack was also preceded in death by his son, Kasey Conger and daughter, Kristen Conger.



The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Jack E. Conger (0-8061), First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession while serving as a Pilot in Marine Fighting Squadron TWO HUNDRED TWELVE (VMF-212), Marine Air Group TWENTY-THREE (MAG-23), FIRST Marine Aircraft Wing, in aerial combat against enemy Japanese forces over Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, from 16 October 1942 to 7 November 1942. Throughout that strenuous period when the island airfield was under constant bombardment and our precarious ground positions were menaced by the desperate thrusts of a fanatical foe, First Lieutenant Conger repeatedly strafed enemy ships and shore establishments and intercepted persistent bombing flights. With bold determination and courageous disregard of personal safety, he pressed home numerous attacks against heavily escorted waves of invading bombers and, in five vigorous fights against tremendous odds, shot down a total of eight Japanese aircraft. Undeterred by the exhaustion of his ammunition at the height of one engagement, he successfully rammed a hostile plane and sent it crashing into the sea. His superb flying skill and dauntless initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Honoree ID: 230251   Created by: bchesarek




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