Rank and organization: Major, 308th Bombardment Group, U.S. Army Air
Place and date: Over South China Sea, 26 October 1944.
Entered service at:
San Angelo, Tex.
Birth: Fort Worth, Tex.
G.O. No.: 14, 4 February 1946.
Citation: He piloted a B-24 bomber in a one-plane strike against a Japanese
convoy in the South China Sea on the night of 26 October 1944. Taking the
enemy force of 12 ships escorted by at least 2 destroyers by surprise,
he made 1 bombing run at 600 feet, scoring a near miss on 1 warship and
escaping without drawing fire. He circled. and fully realizing that the
convoy was thoroughly alerted and would meet his next attack with a barrage
of antiaircraft fire, began a second low-level run which culminated in
2 direct hits on a large tanker. A hail of steel from Japanese guns, riddled
the bomber, knocking out 2 engines, damaging a third, crippling the hydraulic
system, puncturing 1 gasoline tank, ripping uncounted holes in the aircraft,
and wounding the copilot; but by magnificent display of flying skill, Maj.
Carswell controlled the plane's plunge toward the sea and carefully forced
it into a halting climb in the direction of the China shore. On reaching
land, where it would have been possible to abandon the staggering bomber,
one of the crew discovered that his parachute had been ripped by flak and
rendered useless; the pilot, hoping to cross mountainous terrain and reach
a base. continued onward until the third engine failed. He ordered the
crew to bail out while he struggled to maintain altitude. and, refusing
to save himself, chose to remain with his comrade and attempt a crash landing.
He died when the airplane struck a mountainside and burned. With consummate
gallantry and intrepidity, Maj. Carswell gave his life in a supreme effort
to save all members of his crew. His sacrifice. far beyond that required
of him, was in keeping with the traditional bravery of America's war heroes.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)