Captain David McCampbell
The 1986 International Swimming Hall of Fame Gold Medallion Award Recipient is Captain David McCampbell USN. He was 1931 South Atlantic AAU and 1932 Eastern Intercollegiate Diving Champion, and an outstanding athlete at Staunton (where he swam on the team with Barry Goldwater), Georgia Tech and the U.S. Naval Academy. As with the previous Gold Medallion winners--Goldwater, Art Linkletter, and Bill Simon, it isn't so much what they did as swimmers and divers but what they did later.ach school children swimming.
David McCampbell was the U.S. Navy's WWII Ace, shooting down 34 enemy planes in air-to-air combat. His record of nine hostile aircraft is the most ever shot down in one day. The day was October 24 and McCampbell and one other American plane turned back a force of 80 Japanese carrier-based aircraft. For this and previous actions, McCampbell was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The following day he was assigned as target coordinator for a third fleet force of three task groups, attacking the Northern Japanese Fleet sinking four aircraft carriers, one heavy cruiser, and one destroyer. For these actions, McCampbell was awarded the Navy Cross. It was the first and only time any individual had been awarded a Medal of Honor and a Navy Cross on successive days.
He is the top ranked, living American WWII Ace. He is the only holder of the Medal of Honor to command an aircraft carrier and one of only two Naval pilots to be awarded the CMH for air-to-air combat. His air-group fighter planes, 36 Grumman Hellcats, destroyed 68.5 enemy planes in the "Marianna's Turkey Shoot" June 19, 1944, an all time record for one action. The citation of the Medal of Honor personally awarded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House on October 1, 1945 partially reads as follows:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, as Commander . . . led his fighter planes against a force of 80 Japanese carrier-based aircraft bearing down on our fleet on 19 June 1944 -- (Battle of the Philippine Sea) . . . personally destroyed seven of the hostile planes during this single engagement in which the out-numbering attack force was utterly routed and virtually annihilated." Further on "During the Battles of Leyte Gulf on October 24, Commander McCampbell, assisted by but one plane, intercepted and daringly attacked a formation of 60 hostile land-based aircraft approaching our forces . . . shot down nine Japanese planes . . . forced the remainder to abandon the attack before a single aircraft could reach the fleet."
Recipients of the Gold Medallion Award.