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George W. Thornbrough
Died June 4, 1942
Place of death Killed in action, Cold Harbor, Alaska
Rank Captain
*Battle of Dutch Harbor
Service number 0-022400
Unit 73rd Bomber Squadron, 28th Bomber Group, Heavy
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart

Captain George W. Thornbrough (-June 4, 1942) was a U.S. Army Air Forces B-26 Marauder pilot stationed in Alaska during World War II. He was killed in action while returning from a mission to sick a Japanese aircraft carrier that was launching a strike against Dutch Harbor, Alaska.


Captain Thornbrough fought during the Battle of Dutch Harbor in June 1942, bravely attacking a Japanese aircraft carrier that was launching strike aircraft at Dutch Harbor. Although his torpedo struck the carrier, it failed to explode. Captain Thornbrough returned to his airfield to refuel and rearm and then took off to rejoin the fight. The aircraft and entire crew were lost during their return from this mission, when they were unable to land at Cold Bay. The wreckage of Captain Thornbrough's aircraft was found 50 miles (80 km) from Cold Bay on the north side of the Alaska Peninsula the following month. His date of death is recorded as June 4, 1942.[1]

In 1948 the military base Fort Randall, Alaska was renamed Thornbrough Air Force Base in his honor.

Military decorationsEdit

Captain Thornbrough recieved several military awards during his career including the Purple Heart and Distinguished Service Cross.

Distinguished service cross citationEdit

Captain (Air Corps) George W. Thornbrough (ASN: 0-22400), United States Army Air Forces, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a B-26 Medium Bomber in the 73d Bombardment Squadron, 28th Bombardment Group (C), ELEVENTH Air Force, while participating in an air mission on 4 June 1942, against enemy targets in the Territory of Alaska. The personal courage and zealous devotion to duty displayed by Captain Thornbrough on this occasion have upheld the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 11th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces. General Orders: Headquarters, Alaska Defense Command, General Orders No. 67 (1942)[2]


Further readingEdit

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