Darrell Robins Lindsey walked into Fort Des Moines, Iowa on January 16, 1942 and volunteered his service as an Aviation Cadet in the United States Army Air Corps. He was 22 years old, having been born in Jefferson, Iowa on December 30, 1919.
By August 9, 1944, now Captain Lindsey had completed 45 combat missions and took off for his 46th. As a flight leader with the 585th Bombardment Squadron of the 394th Bombardment Group, Lindsey led 30 Marauders in an attack on a railroad bridge over the Seine River at L’Isle Adam, France.
The bridge was one of the few left over the Seine that the fleeing Nazis could use. The target was heavily defended with multiple anti-aircraft guns. On the bomb run, Lindsey’s aircraft was struck multiple times and even though it was aflame and likely to explode at any second, he kept control bore his flight onto the target, and then sacrificed himself so the rest of his crew could bail out.
His Medal of Honor was presented to his widow Evalyn one year later on August 9, 1945.
*LINDSEY, DARRELL R.
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army Air Corps. Place and date: L’Isle Adam railroad bridge over the Seine in occupied France, 9 August 1944. (Air Mission). Entered service at: Storm Lake, Iowa. G.O. No.: 43, 30 May 1945
Citation: On 9 August 1944, Capt. Lindsey led a formation of 30 B-26 medium bombers in a hazardous mission to destroy the strategic enemy held L’lsle Adam railroad bridge over the Seine in occupied France. With most of the bridges over the Seine destroyed, the heavily fortified L’Isle Adam bridge was of inestimable value to the enemy in moving troops, supplies, and equipment to Paris. Capt. Lindsey was fully aware of the fierce resistance that would be encountered. Shortly after reaching enemy territory the formation was buffeted with heavy and accurate antiaircraft fire. By skillful evasive action, Capt. Lindsey was able to elude much of the enemy flak, but just before entering the bombing run his B-26 was peppered with holes. During the bombing run the enemy fire was even more intense, and Capt. Lindsey’s right engine received a direct hit and burst into flames. Despite the fact that his ship was hurled out of formation by the violence of the concussion, Capt. Lindsey brilliantly maneuvered back into the lead position without disrupting the flight. Fully aware that the gasoline tanks might explode at any moment, Capt. Lindsey gallantly elected to continue the perilous bombing run. With fire streaming from his right engine and his right wing half enveloped in flames, he led his formation over the target upon which the bombs were dropped with telling effect. Immediately after the objective was attacked, Capt. Lindsey gave the order for the crew to parachute from the doomed aircraft. With magnificent coolness and superb pilotage, and without regard for his own life, he held the swiftly descending airplane in a steady glide until the members of the crew could jump to safety. With the right wing completely enveloped in flames and an explosion of the gasoline tank imminent, Capt. Lindsey still remained unperturbed. The last man to leave the stricken plane was the bombardier, who offered to lower the wheels so that Capt. Lindsey might escape from the nose. Realizing that this might throw the aircraft into an uncontrollable spin and jeopardize the bombardier’s chances to escape, Capt. Lindsey refused the offer. Immediately after the bombardier had bailed out, and before Capt. Lindsey was able to follow, the right gasoline tank exploded. The aircraft sheathed in fire, went into a steep dive and was seen to explode as it crashed. All who are living today from this plane owe their lives to the fact that Capt. Lindsey remained cool and showed supreme courage in this emergency.
Lindsey’s remains were never recovered. He is still listed as missing in action and is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Liege, Belgium and with a cenotaph at the Jefferson Cemetery, Jefferson, Iowa.
The 585th Bombardment Squadron is no longer an active or reserve United States Air Force unit. The descendant of the 394th Bombardment Group is the 106th Rescue Wing, which is currently part of the New York Air National Guard.