Navy Cross Citation

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SBD-3 Dauntless

Ensign Richard Alonzo Jaccard, USNR

SBD-3 Dauntless
SBD-3 Dauntless

Image courtesy of Home of the Heroes

*JACCARD, RICHARD ALONZO (MIA)
Citation:

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Richard Alonzo Jaccard (0-099665), Ensign, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier- based Navy Scouting Plane of Scouting Squadron SIX (VS-6), embarked from the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6), during the "Air Battle of Midway," against enemy Japanese forces on 4 - 6 June 1942. Participating in a devastating assault against a Japanese invasion fleet, Ensign Jaccard, with fortitude and resolute devotion to duty, pressed home his attacks in the face of a formidable barrage of anti-aircraft fire and fierce fighter opposition. His gallant perseverance and utter disregard for his own personal safety were important contributing factors to the success achieved by our forces and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 309 (December 1942)
Born: July 1, 1918 at Troy, Missouri
Home Town: Manhattan, Kansas

Information gleaned from Home of Heroes

Naval Cadet Richard A. Jaccard prior to Flight School in Miami, FL 1941

Ensign Richard Jaccard - Pensacola '41

Ensign Richard A. Jaccard - Pensacola, Florida 1941
Ensign Richard A. Jaccard, USNR - Pensacola 1941

The Action that brought Ensign Richard Jaccard the Navy Cross

As American carrier groups moved to meet the Japanese thrust at Midway, JACCARD, as part of Scouting Squadron 6, attacked enemy carriers during the morning, knocking out AKAGI and KAGA. That afternoon the squadron carried out another devastating attack, sinking carrier HIRYU. For his part in a great victory, JACCARD was awarded the Navy Cross.

Following further missions with Scouting Squadron 6, JACCARD was transferred to Bombing Squadron 6 in WASP (CV-7). While supporting the Guadalcanal campaign from the carrier, ENS. JACCARD was killed when WASP was torpedoed and sunk 15 September 1942.

The Fatal Action that took ENS. JACCARD's Life

To know Ensign Jaccard, you have to know the power behind him, that drove him to Action. In this case, the Power was his Desire to do what's right and his Courage that drove him to action. He was a man with the 'Right Stuff' character, that is woven into the fabric of all Naval Aviators. Ensign Jaccard received more of this unique 'Power' from flying one of the Navy's deadliest aircraft of the World War II era, the  Douglas Fighter/Dive Bomber, SBD-3 Dauntless.

U.S. Navy Photo

I have sought to bring circumstances surrounding Ensign JACCARD's loss forefront and to mind again, after 64 years, so that we would, as beneficiaries of these intrepid young men, be more appreciative of what these heroes have done for us, so that we will never allow history to repeat itself again.

The following information was sleuthed and contributed by Rudy Friederich, Coordinator, Aircraft Carrier Study Group Knoxville, Tennessee, who answered my plea to get more information on Ensign Jaccard, and the circumstances around his demise, please join with me in gratitude to Rudy for the following...

"Richard E. Jaccard, a Kansas man. tall, lean, humorous. Nickname Dick. He was flying a Dauntless dive bomber, at Midway in Scouting Six squadron, off ENTERPRISE, CV 6 at Midway Battle. He was flying in a 4-plane section led by LT Earl GALLAGHER, CO, of Scouting Six. (Scouts and Bombers flew the same plane and apparently remnants were interchanged after Midway to VB-6). This was the evening strike from ENTERPRISE. GALLAGHER and second plane dived on Hiryu, Japanese carrier, and missed. Hiryu had turned shaprply. Jaccard, third man down, scored near the bow. (I can assume that it was this action in which he received the Navy Cross). He was to damage Hiryu who had a deck ready to launch her few remaining aircraft.

A great aerial view of a SBD-3
U.S. Navy Photo

Young Pilots from Helldiver Squadron VB-6 off Hancock WWII

Photo from U.S.S. Hancock Memory Book

"With ENTERPRISE in for repairs, remnants of VB-6, 12 planes, pilots, were sent to Efate, New Hebrides as VB-6. They were to operate with a Marine fighting squadron there ashore. A call came from WASP CV-7 for 4 bombing planes, pilots. Jaccard lost the draw and was sent to WASP. Jaccard was asleep in his bunk when the torpedo hits obliterated the officers' quarters."

        * From the archives of the Aircraft Carrier Study Group.

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(Updated 23 March 2007)