South St. Paul – Fleming Field is named for Captain (CPT) Richard Fleming, a U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve) USMC(R) pilot during World War II. He was, posthumously, presented the congressional Medal of Honor for his actions during battle on June 5, 1942. Below is an account of his life and that battle.
For 6 months following the attack on Pearl Harbor, CPT Fleming’s squadrons patrolled the air near the Midway, never making enemy contact. In his letters, Fleming fretted about spending the war in the backwaters.
This would soon change. On June 4, 1942, CPT Fleming’s squadrons were ordered to attack the Japanese Fleet. Scores of American aircraft never returned. CPT Fleming’s commanding officer was killed and Fleming’s aircraft limped back with 171 holes in it after he failed to drop a bomb on the aircraft carrier Akagi. CPT Fleming received two slight wounds.
The next day prompted the squadron commander, CPT Fleming, and the remnants of his squadrons to return to the battle. CPT Fleming directed his aircraft in a screaming dive at the Japanese cruiser Mikuma. The enemy ship was struck with the bomb, then by CPT Fleming’s plane. A Japanese officer later wrote that it was a suicide bombing.
There was a tremendous blast as the gasoline from CPT Fleming’s plane flowed down into the Mikuma’s engine room where the fumes ignited and exploded, killing the entire engine room crew. The Mikuma, now gutted and helpless, laid wallowing in the water. The following day U.S. bombers found the helpless cruisers and the Mikuma, which later rolled over and sank.
Captain Richard Fleming was the only man to earn the Medal of Honor during this crucial battle.
One of our hangar buildings is known as the “Hook-Em_Cow” hangar. This name harkens back to the turn of the 20th Century. Here are some links to historical information. Hook-Em-Cow & Western Magazine Article
The terminal building is perfectly suited to meet any pilot, passenger, or business need. A state of the art facility, the Fleming Field terminal building has free Wi-Fi internet access, a large private meeting room with full-screen projector, a full-service flight planning room, an observation room for visitors to watch aircraft, and we have a spacious modern-day lobby complete with an attractive, historical ambiance.