Editor’s note: This Veterans Day Voice of OC is publishing a series of plaques honoring some of Orange County’s most decorated veterans. William Eldridge was born in Hamilton, Ohio . He received three Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star, a Meritorious Achievement Award, three Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Medals, a Purple Heart, and 28 Air medals.
Colonel William W Eldridge, Jr., U.S.M.C.
Citation: Navy Cross
War: World War II
For extraordinary heroism in aerial flight as pilot of a fighter plane in Marine fighter squadron four hundred forty-one in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault on Okinawa, Shima, Ryukyu Islands on 16 April, 1945, while flying as a member of a twelve-plane combat air patrol Colonel Eldridge, (then a First Lieutenant), and his patrol answered distress calls and located a flight of approximately twenty-five enemy aircraft attempting to destroy a United States Fighter Director ship by suicide attacks. Boldly engaging the hostile formation, he pressed home a determined attack to destroy four planes, thereby aiding materially in repulsing the Japanese attack and saving the ship. His gallant conduct was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Orange County Walk of Honor by AMVETS
More about William W. Eldridge, Jr:
- Hall of Valor (Military Times)
- Eldridge Park, in Santa Ana was named in 1998 after Colonel William W. Eldridge, a long-time Santa Ana resident whose house stood on land that is part of the park now.
- Voice of OC to Publish Series on Veterans Memorial Plaques