ARTHUR L. DOWNING, then Lieutenant Commander, United States Naval Reserve. For extraordinary heroism as leader of a strike group of fighter, divebomber and torpedo planes in the vicinity of the Philippine Islands. In the course of this strike, several battleships were either sunk or severely damaged. As pilot of the leading dive-bombing airplane, he attacked one of the most powerful enemy battleships. In spite of extremely anti-aircraft fire from every kind of weapon, he deliberately pressed his attack to an extraordinarily low level before releasing his bombs, both of which were direct hits in a vulnerable spot. This accurate and aggressive bombing silenced fire from the forward part of the ship and permitted following torpedo planes to press home their attacks with comparative impunity. Furthermore, it inspired his wingmen to follow him down to the same low altitude and secure one additional sure and one probable direct hit. While returning from this highly successful mission, he shot down in flames an enemy seaplane. By his courageous leadership and example, he contributed greatly to the severe damage and destruction inflicted upon a major enemy surface force. His fortitude, coolness and skill were an inspiration to all with whom he served and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
View Captain Downing’s Navy Cross.
View Captain Downing’s First Gold Star.
CPT downing resided in Florida.