18th Fighter Wing Association
Korean War Veterans - Pacific Guardians
Updated March 2017
18th Fighter Bomber Wing / 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron
WWII Veteran / Army Air Force - Korean War Veteran  /  US Air Force
Major Lou Sebille was the first United States Air Force Medal of Honor recipient.  Sebille enlisted in the United States Army Air Force two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The Army Air Force was in desperate need of pilots.  Despite being two months older than the cut-off age of 26, with Sebille's skills as a pilot, the Army Air Force waived the age restriction and allowed him to become a pilot.  He began his flight training in January 1942.  After completing flight training, Sebille was commissioned as a second lieutenant and assigned to the 450th Bombardment Squadron, 322nd Bombardment Group 3rd Bombardment Wing at MacDill Field.  Sebille was deployed to England in January 1943 and flew bombing missions in the European theatre.  The 322nd Bombardment Group was the first unit to fly the B-26 Marauder.   His first mission was on May 14, a low- altitude attack on an electrical power plant in the Netherlands.  During the war, Sebille advanced to flight leader and then was promoted to squadron operations officer with a temporary rank of major.  By the end of the war, Sebille had flown 68 combat missions with over 3,000 flying hours.  He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and twelve Air Medals.  His unit returned to the United States in March, 1945. After the end of the war, Sebille left active duty and began work as a commercial airline pilot.  He returned to the Army Air Force in July 1946 after he was offered a commission as a First Lieutenant.  Sebille was assigned as an F-51 Mustang and F-80 Shooting Star instructor pilot, teaching other pilots how to transition from conventional fighter aircraft to newer jet engine powered models.  Sebille attended Air Tactical School at Tyndall Field, Florida.  In 1948, after completing Air Technical School, he was assigned to Clark Air Base in the Philippines.  During this time, he flew an F-51D named Nancy III.  In November 1948, Sebille was once again promoted to major and made the commanding officer of the 67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing, a component of the Fifth United States Air Force stationed in Japan for post-World War II occupation duties. During this time Sebille worked mostly administrative duty as the squadron absorbed new aircraft and pilots in Japan.  He frequently discussed fighting and death, including sentiments supporting suicide attack, at one point saying "If you have to die, then take some of the enemy with you.” On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman announced that he is ordering U.S. air and naval forces to South Korea to aid the democratic nation in repulsing an invasion by communist North Korea.  On August 1, Sebille and his squadron moved to Ashiya Air Field and began conducting missions in support of the ground forces in Korea.  During this time, the 67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron operated primarily out of Ashiya but also used airfields at Taegu and Pusan.                                               On September 5, 1950, a T-6 Mosquito forward air controller spotted a North Korea column advancing through the village                                             of Hamchang.  Sebille was ordered to lead a flight of three F-51's on an airstrike against the North Korean troops                                             advancing there.  Sebille flew a F-51 loaded with two 500 pound bombs, six rockets, and six M2 Browning .50 caliber                                             machine guns.  Sebille along with his wingmen, Captain Martin Johnson and Lieutenant Charles Morehouse, spotted a                                             North Korean armored column crossing the river in a shallow area.  Diving, he spotted a target column of trucks, artillery                                             guns and armored cars, led by a North Korean Armored Personnel Carrier.  Sebille planned to drop both of his bombs on                                             his first attack.  He released his bombs however, only one of his bombs had released.  North Korean anti-aircraft fire struck                                             Sebille's F-51 as he turned to make a second run heavily damaging the aircraft and it began trailing smoke and coolant.                                              Sebille had intended to release his second bomb, but he radioed Johnson that he had been hit and injured, probably fatally.  Johnson radioed back Sebille should try to head for a US emergency landing strip in Taegu a short distance away, but Sebille responded with his last known words, "No, I'll never make it.  I'm going back and get that bastard".  He dove straight toward the APC that was his target.  He fired his six rockets in salvo, but instead of pulling up, he deliberately continued to dive his fighter and the remaining bomb straight into the target while firing his six machine guns.  His plane sustained even heavier damage, and he crashed into the North Korean convoy destroying a large contingent of  North Korean ground troops and vehicles though being killed instantly himself. He was buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Chicago.  Lieutenant Donald Bolt, the squadron's assistant awards officer, forwarded a citation of the event to Washington D.C. where Sebille would be evaluated for the Medal of Honor.  The United States Air Force Academy also created a memorial to Sebille in Harmon Hall, the academy's administration building. The citation awarded to Major Joseph A. Sebille for the Medal of Honor: Maj. Sebille, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. During an attack on a camouflaged area containing a concentration of enemy troops, artillery, and armoured vehicles, Maj. Sebille's F-51 aircraft was severely damaged by anti-aircraft fire. Although fully cognizant of the short period he could remain airborne, he deliberately ignored the possibility of survival by abandoning the aircraft or by crash landing, and continued his attack against the enemy forces threatening the security of friendly ground troops. In his determination to inflict maximum damage upon the enemy, Maj. Sebille again exposed himself to the intense fire of enemy gun batteries and dived on the target to his death. The superior leadership, daring, and selfless devotion to duty which he displayed in the execution of an extremely dangerous mission were an inspiration to both his subordinates and superiors and reflect the highest credit upon himself, the U.S. Air Force, and the armed forces of the United Nations.   More information about Major Sebille from Truckbusters from Dogpatch

Major Louis Joseph "Lou" Sebille

 

November 21, 1915 – August 5, 1950
Updated December 2017
18th Fighter Wing Association
Korean War Veterans - Pacific Guardians
18th Fighter Bomber Wing / 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron
WWII Veteran / Army Air Force - Korean War Veteran  /  US Air Force

Major Louis Joseph "Lou" Sebille

 

November 21, 1915 – August 5, 1950
Major Lou Sebille was the first United States Air Force Medal of Honor recipient. Sebille  enlisted in the United States Army Air Force two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Army Air Force was in desperate need of pilots.  Despite being two months older than the cut-off age of 26, with Sebille's skills as a pilot, the Army Air Force waived the age restriction and allowed him to become a pilot.  He began his flight training in January 1942.  After completing flight training, Sebille was commissioned as a second lieutenant and assigned to the 450th Bombardment Squadron, 322nd Bombardment Group 3rd Bombardment Wing at MacDill Field.  Sebille was deployed to England in January 1943 and flew bombing missions in the European theatre.  The 322nd Bombardment Group was the first unit to fly the B-26 Marauder.   His first mission was on May 14, a low-altitude attack on an electrical power plant in the Netherlands.  During the war, Sebille advanced to flight leader and then was promoted to squadron operations officer with a temporary rank of major.  By the end of the war, Sebille had flown 68 combat missions with over 3,000 flying hours.  He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and twelve Air Medals.  His unit returned to the United States in March, 1945. After the end of the war, Sebille left active duty and began work as a commercial airline pilot.  He returned to the Army Air Force in July 1946 after he was offered a commission as a First Lieutenant.  Sebille was assigned as an F-51 Mustang and F-80 Shooting Star instructor pilot, teaching other pilots how to transition from conventional fighter aircraft to newer jet engine powered models.  Sebille attended Air Tactical School at Tyndall Field, Florida.  In 1948, after completing Air Technical School, he was assigned to Clark Air Base in the Philippines.  During this time, he flew an F-51D named Nancy III.  In November 1948, Sebille was once again promoted to major and made the commanding officer of the 67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing, a component of the Fifth United States Air Force stationed in Japan for post-World War II occupation duties. During this time Sebille worked mostly administrative duty as the squadron absorbed new aircraft and pilots in Japan.  He frequently discussed fighting and death, including sentiments supporting suicide attack, at one point saying "If you have to die, then take some of the enemy with you.” On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman announced that he is ordering U.S. air and naval forces to South Korea to aid the democratic nation in repulsing an invasion by communist North Korea.  On August 1, Sebille and his squadron moved to Ashiya Air Field and began conducting missions in support of the ground forces in Korea.  During this time, the 67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron operated primarily out of Ashiya but also used airfields at Taegu and Pusan.                                               On September 5, 1950, a T-6 Mosquito forward air controller spotted a                                             North Korea column advancing through the village of Hamchang.                                             Sebille was ordered to lead a flight of three F-51's on an airstrike                                             against the North Korean troops advancing there.  Sebille flew a F-51                                             loaded with two 500 pound bombs, six rockets, and six M2 Browning                                             .50 caliber machine guns.  Sebille along with his wingmen, Captain                                             Martin Johnson and Lieutenant Charles Morehouse, spotted a North                                             Korean armored column crossing the river in a shallow area.  Diving,                                             he spotted a target column of trucks, artillery guns and armored cars, led by a North Korean Armored Personnel Carrier.  Sebille planned to drop both of his bombs on his first attack.  He released his bombs however, only one of his bombs had released.  North Korean anti-aircraft fire struck Sebille's F-51 as he turned to make a second run heavily damaging the aircraft and it began trailing smoke and coolant.  Sebille had intended to release his second bomb, but he radioed Johnson that he had been hit and injured, probably fatally.  Johnson radioed back Sebille should try to head for a US emergency landing strip in Taegu a short distance away, but Sebille responded with his lastknown words, "No, I'll never make it.  I'm going back and get that bastard".  He dove straight toward the APC that was his target.  He fired his six rockets in salvo, but instead of pulling up, he deliberately continued to dive his fighter and the remaining bomb straight into the target while firing his six machine guns.  His plane sustained even heavier damage, and he crashed into the North Korean convoy destroying a large contingent of North Korean ground troops and vehicles though being killed instantly himself. He was buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Chicago.  Lieutenant Donald Bolt, the squadron's assistant awards officer, forwarded a citation of the event to Washington D.C. where Sebille would be evaluated for the Medal of Honor.  The United States Air Force Academy also created a memorial to Sebille in Harmon Hall, the academy's administration building. The citation awarded to Major Joseph A. Sebille for the Medal of Honor: Maj. Sebille, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. During an attack on a camouflaged area containing a concentration of enemy troops, artillery, and armoured vehicles, Maj. Sebille's F-51 aircraft was severely damaged by anti-aircraft fire. Although fully cognizant of the short period he could remain airborne, he deliberately ignored the possibility of survival by abandoning the aircraft or by crash landing, and continued his attack against the enemy forces threatening the security of friendlyground troops. In his determination to inflict maximum damage upon the enemy, Maj. Sebille again exposed himself to the intense fire of enemy gun batteries and dived on the target to his death. The superior leadership, daring, and selfless devotion to duty which he displayed in the execution of an extremely dangerous mission were an inspiration to both his subordinates and superiors and reflect the highest credit upon himself, the U.S. Air Force, and the armed forces of the United Nations. More information about Major Sebille from Truckbusters from Dogpatch