HORACE SEAVER CARSWELL JR. (1916 ~ 1944). Medal of Honor recipient Horace S. Carswell Jr. was born on July 18, 1916, in Fort Worth, Texas. He attended the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M University) until 1934. Carswell didn't make the football team at A&M, so he enrolled at Texas Christian University where he played on the varsity baseball team for three years and the varsity football team for two. Though he only weighed about 150 pounds, on the TCU football team he played guard on the offensive line.
After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education in 1939, Carswell entered pilot training in the Army Air Corps. He became a flight instructor and operations officer for several B-24 training units before going overseas during World War II. In April 1944, he was assigned to the 308th Squadron in China. Because of his past experience as an instructor, Carswell flew with different crews from the 308th and 374th Squadrons to observe pilots' reactions and different crews' proficiency at flying in formation. On these flights he often fulfilled different duties on the aircraft such a co-pilot.
On October 26, 1944, Carswell, now a Major, handpicked a crew to attack a Japanese convoy by surprise in the South China Sea. Carswell's plane was severely damaged after two passes over the convoy attempting to sink a tanker. Carswell's plane recovered from a near crash after the loss of two engines and faced the failure of a third. Now over China, the order was given to bail out, but one crew member's parachute was damaged. Carswell and another crew member refused to jump to safety and leave the man to die. They attempted to fly the plane to safety over tall, rugged mountains with only one properly working engine. The plane crashed and there were no survivors. It was for this action that Carswell was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1946. He was survived by his wife, Virginia, and their son. Carswell is buried at a Catholic mission in Tungchen, China. Fort Worth Army Air Field was renamed Carswell Air Force Base on February 27, 1948.
Bibliography: "Above and Beyond: The Medal of Honor in Texas," Capitol Visitors Center, State Preservation Board of Texas. Dallas News: February 11, 1948; February 27, 1948. Fort Worth Star Telegram: January 7, 1974; January 8, 1974. Glines, Carroll V. Chennault's Forgotten Warriors: The Saga of the 308th Bomb Group in China, Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1995. Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, University of Texas, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/CC/fcabx.html, September 25, 2002.