The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Second Lieutenant (Air Corps) Wilma Thomas Caldwell, Jr. (ASN: 0-521569), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a B-26 Medium Bomber in the 554th Bombardment Squadron, 386th Bombardment Group (M), EIGHTH Air Force, while participating in a bombing mission on 22 August 1943, against enemy ground targets at Beaumont le Roger, France. Shortly after the completion of the bombing run, the airplane piloted by Lieutenant Caldwell was attacked by an enemy fighter, which resulted in an engine being damaged and a fire, which involved the fuel tanks being started in the bomb bay. Faced with the imminent destruction of his crippled and almost unmanageable plane, subjected to the intense heat of the growing fire, and in spite of radio warnings from other pilots in his formation, Lieutenant Caldwell chose to remain at the controls of his ship, keeping it in a controlled glide in order to give his crew an opportunity to escape. After the fourth man had parachuted to safety, the plane exploded in midair. The gallantry displayed by Lieutenant Caldwell in sacrificing his life for his comrades is in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Army and reflects reflect great credit upon himself, the 8th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.