About Jay Zeamer, Jr.
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Major (Air Corps), [then Captain] Jay Zeamer, United States Army Air Forces, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 65th Bombardment Squadron, 43d Bombardment Group (H), 5th Air Force. On 16 June 1943, Major Zeamer 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, Major Zeamer proceeded with his mapping run, even after the enemy attack began.
In the ensuing engagement, Major Zeamer sustained gunshot wounds in both arms and legs, one 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 five hostile planes, of which Major Zeamer himself shot down one. 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, Major Zeamer, with superb skill, resolution, and courage, accomplished a mission of great value.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders Date: January 14, 1944
Action Date: 16-Jun-43
Service: Army Air Forces
Company: 65th Bombardment Squadron
Regiment: 43d Bombardment Group (H)
Division: 5th Air Force