Major Ernest J. Ambort
Major Ambort, deceased, Little Rock, U.S. Army Air Corp, WWII. Awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious combat achievement, the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four Bronze Service Stars. The “Flying Ace’s” tally record was five airborne victories, three probable, two ground, and sunk an enemy transport in Ormoc Bay.
Lieutenant Ambort scored his first air to air victory on October 31st 1944. It took just 37 days for him to become an ace, his fifth coming on December 7th 1944. In the book fighter aces of the USA by Toliver and Constable, Lieutenant Ambor states that his most memorable victory was the Downing of a Japanese Kamikaze dive bomb attack on a destroyer evacuating wounded soldiers from the Philippines. Lieutenant Ambort and his wingman Lieutenant Hemmett from Boston, Massachusetts calculated that the P-38 was probably worth more than any destroyer, but due to the number of sick and wounded boys, he decided to ram the enemy aircraft. Trusting on luck rather than ability, he held the triggers down and when the black smoke cleared he knew the Japanese plane had been blown up just before their flight paths crossed. The gratifying waves of crutches, bandages and plaster cast signaled that this had truly been his most thrilling aerial victory.
On 17 February, 1945 Lieutenant Ambort earned his first of three Distinguished Flying Cross’. The narrative reads as follows: Lieutenant Ernest J Airport Air corps, United States Army. Extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight over the southern tip of Leyte, Philippine Islands on 5 December 1944. Lieutenant Ambort and a flight of P38 type airplanes, was covering a friendly convoy when eight enemy airplanes were sighted. Lieutenant Ambort made an attack on one, firing a short burst of fire and causing the plane to blow up. He followed this with another attack on the leading plane of two, and after a long burst which scored hits on the canopy and wings, the enemy plane went into a loose spiral to the right, smoking, and struck the water. The outstanding courage and devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Ambort during this flight are worthy of the highest commendation.
In October of 2018 Major Ambort was inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Historical Association Hall of Fame.
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