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Hirshburg, Ivan E.

Ivan Eugene Hirshburg was born in Oglethorpe, Georgia and entered service from Macon County, Georgia. He was employed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and later, NASA. He retired from Marshall Space Flight Center in1972. He was a resident of Huntsville for 47 years until his death in 2004. On 16 November, 1943, Captain Ivan E. Hirshburg was piloting an unarmed C-47 aircraft when he was attacked by an enemy fighter plane. The presence of the enemy fighter was radioed to all friendly forces in the area and the ground station. Three times the plane was attacked, and each time, evasive action was employed to prevent the enemy from destroying the aircraft and its crew. Although badly damaged, the plane returned to base with all members of the crew safe. For his heroic actions, Ivan Hirshburg was award the Distinguished Flying Cross. On 10 December 1943, Captain Ivan E. Hirshburg participated in a mission to provide supplies to isolated Allied troops in Burma. Upon reaching the target, his aircraft was attacked by enemy fighters and he was severely wounded in the right shoulder and left thigh. Despite his wounds, Captain Hirshburg continued flying the aircraft and made every effort to evade the attackers who were closing in. Rather than expose the crew to further attacks, he elected to make a crash landing in the mountainous jungles. In the crash landing, he received critical face and head injuries, however, he ordered that first aid be given to the rest of the injured crew. His actions on that date saved the lives of six of his crew members. For his heroic actions, Ivan Hirshburg was award the Distinguished Flying Cross.  In addition to the above awards, he was awarded two more Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Air Medals with Valor for his heroic service.