Our Namesakes

Our Sea Cadets and Navy League Cadets units are named after two U.S. Navy officers: David McCampbell and Clyde E. Lassen. Both of these Florida heroes received our nation's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor. We revere their commitment to duty and country, and hope that their examples will be an inspiration to cadets in our units and in others.
David McCampbell Battalion
U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps

Summary: David McCampbell was the most decorated U.S. Navy fighter pilot of World War II and still holds the record of top ace among Navy aviators. McCampbell was stationed in Melbourne, FL, at the Naval Air Station, a training facility for Navy and Marine pilots during World War II.

The President of the United States, in the name of The Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to:


Rank and Organization: Commander, U.S. Navy, Air Group 15.
Place and Date: First and second battles of the Philippine Sea, 19 June 1944.
Entered Service at: Florida. Born: 16 January 1 910, Bessemer, Ala.
Other Navy Awards: Navy Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Gold Stars, Air Medal.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commander, Air Group 15, during combat against enemy Japanese aerial forces in the first and second battles of the Philippine Sea. An inspiring leader, fighting boldly in the face of terrific odds, Comdr. McCampbell led his fighter planes against a force of 80 Japanese carrier-based aircraft bearing down on our fleet on 19 June 1944. Striking fiercely in valiant defense of our surface force, he personally destroyed 7 hostile planes during this single engagement in which the outnumbering attack force was utterly routed and virtually annihilated. During a major fleet engagement with the enemy on 24 October, Comdr. McCampbell, assisted by but l plane, intercepted and daringly attacked a formation of 60 hostile land-based craft approaching our forces. Fighting desperately but with superb skill against such overwhelming airpower, he shot down 9 Japanese planes and, completely disorganizing the enemy group, forced the remainder to abandon the attack before a single aircraft could reach the fleet. His great personal valor and indomitable spirit of aggression under extremely perilous combat conditions reflect the highest credit upon Comdr. McCampbell and the U.S. Naval Service.
Additional Information
Training Ship Lassen
U.S. Navy League Cadet Corps
Summary: Clyde Lassen was a helicopter pilot who risked his life to save the lives of two downed Naval aviators in what some have called the most daring rescue of the Vietnam conflict.
The President of the United States, in the name of The Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to:


Rank and Organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, Helicopter Support Squadron 7, Detachment 104, embarked in U.S.S. Preble (DLG-15)
Place and Date: Republic of Vietnam, 19 June 1968
Entered Service at: Jacksonville, Florida
Born: 14 March 1942, Fort Myers, Florida
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as pilot and aircraft commander of a search and rescue helicopter, attached to Helicopter Support Squadron 7, during operations against enemy forces in North Vietnam. Launched shortly after midnight to attempt the rescue of 2 downed aviators. Lt. (then Lt.(jg.)) Lassen skillfully piloted his aircraft over unknown and hostile terrain to a steep, tree-covered hill on which the survivors had been located. Although enemy fire was being directed at the helicopter, he initially landed in a clear area near the base of the hill, but, due to the dense undergrowth, the survivors could not reach the helicopter. With the aid of flare illumination, Lt. Lassen successfully accomplished a hover between 2 trees at the survivors' position. Illumination was abruptly lost as the last of the flares were expended, and the helicopter collided with a tree, commencing a sharp descent. Expertly righting his aircraft and maneuvering clear, Lt. Lassen remained in the area, determined to make another rescue attempt, and encouraged the downed aviators while awaiting resumption of flare illumination. After another unsuccessful, illuminated rescue attempt. and with his fuel dangerously low and his aircraft significantly damaged, he launched again and commenced another approach in the face of the continuing enemy opposition. When flare illumination was again lost, Lt. Lassen, fully aware of the dangers in clearly revealing his position to the enemy, turned on his landing lights and completed the landing. On this attempt, the survivors were able to make their way to the helicopter. In route to the coast he encountered and successfully evaded additional hostile antiaircraft fire and, with fuel for only minutes of flight remaining, landed safely aboard U.S.S. Jouett (DLG-29). Lt. Lassen's extraordinary heroism at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Navy.
Additional Information

USS Lassen, DDG-82
Additional information about LT Clyde Lassen
More information about LT Lassen
Clyde Lassen's gravesite in Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola, Florida