John "Johnnie" James Able Jr. (5 August 1923 in South Carolina - 1 December 1967) was an American First Sergeant in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. He also was a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross which was awarded for having distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism against an armed enemy in circumstances which do not justify the award of the Medal of Honor.
Johnnie was born in South Carolina on August 5, 1923 to John Sr. and Narvie S. Able.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces from Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina on December 17, 1941 (ASN: 14048683) and served in World War II with the 65th Bombardment Squadron, 43d Bombardment Group (H). He was eventually discharged.
He married Joye E. Worrell. She died in 1987.
Johnnie died of unknown causes on December 1, 1967. He was buried in the Ocean Woods Memorial Cemetery in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Awards & Decorations
- Flight Engineer Badge
- Distinguished Service Cross in 1943 as Sergeant in the 65th Bombardment Squadron, 43d Bombardment Group (H), 5th Air Force
- Silver Star Medal in 1943 as Sergeant in the 5th Air Force
- Air Medal
- Army Good Conduct Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
Sergeant Johnnie J. Able, Jr., United States Army Air Forces, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Flight Engineer of a B-17 Heavy Bomber in the 65th Bombardment Squadron, 43d Bombardment Group (H), FIFTH Air Force, in aerial action against enemy forces on 16 June 1943, during a Photo-Reconnaissance air mission over Bougainville Island. Sergeant Able was a member of a volunteer bomber crew which undertook an important and dangerous photo mapping mission over the heavily defended enemy base at Buka. Just before the photographing was completed, about twenty enemy fighters attacked. The bomber was extensively damaged and five of the crew were seriously wounded. After a forty-five minute running fight, in which five enemy planes were destroyed and two damaged, the bomber was flown safely to its base five hundred and eighty miles away. Sergeant Able showed admirable skill and determined courage on this voluntary mission, which secured information of great value in subsequent operations. The courage and zealous devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Able on this occasion have upheld the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 5th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.
Silver Star medal synopsis
Sergeant Johnnie J. Able, Jr., United States Army Air Forces, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving with the FIFTH Air Force in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II.
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