Now For Something Different and Personal.

Greetings Me Droogs N Droogettes!
So last night I was watching a vidya on YouTube. It wasn’t bad. It’s a relatively new channel ( a year or so) called “Vestiges of History”. It came up as a suggestion on my playlist, and the first one I watched was about Lee Marvin, best known for his Academy Award for “Cat Ballou” and being an all around badass… My favorite film of his was “The Big Red One”. The guy presenting below gives a really good synopsis of Marvin’s Marine Corps Service in that particular vid. Link to that vid is HERE. I had no idea that Lee Marvin was that much of a badass…

So, then I watched a few other videos, to include this one:

Go to 7:40 on that.
It struck home.
Reason being, I have ONE relative that died in World War 2.

My Great Uncle 2nd L.T. Cornelius F. O’Leary.

He is an enigma to the family as he died young, and the video above really touched home. As far as I know, there isn’t even a picture still in existence of him. I started researching this back during COVID in February/March of 2020 as I had always heard about him, and realized HIS Story about how he died needed to be answered. I also had nothing but time. My initial research got me -some- info, but there were still a LOT of ‘holes’ that needed filling. That video spurred me to continue the search for answers. I owe him that. If anything Honor demands it, especially in light of my Infantry ethos.

Now, many of my relations have served in the DotMil. All of them that I know of were Officers, with the exception of DeadDad who was a no shit Spec-7! He was the enlisted equivalent of a Warrant Officer LOL.

But as far as ALL the rest?

This is part of the reason (among many) that I’m considered a bit of a Black Sheep in the family.
The First to drop out of College.
The ONLY true enlisted man in the family that I know of.
(As you all know, Officers positively hate to mingle with the Enlisted Swine, ‘cos they’re afraid the fumes from them will tarnish their brass)
And lastly, the last to get my bachelors degree in 2012 (20 years late from when I started).

In a family that prizes education above all things, you can sort of see the issue(s).
That and I’m an unapologetic asshole.
Jes’ Sayin’

Now, one of these occifer relations as stated is my Great Uncle Connie. He died on November 16, 1942 in the Pacific. He was my Grandpa’s littlest brother. Out of five boys and two girls (BIG Irish Family right?) Cornelius Francis O’Leary was the baby brother born in 1914. There was a younger brother James, however according to the family history, James died shortly after birth.

Now… After Connie died, Grandpa, who Officially was the Second Born Son (that would be Daniel in the chart above) spent a few years travelling around the world trying to find information regarding his little brother’s death. As the eldest brother, (and yeah, there’s a story why Uncle Colonel Tim is listed as the eldest… in real life he wasn’t… more on that later and MAN it’s some wild shit…prolly need an ENTIRE post to that story, and no one will believe me…) Grandpa? He felt it was his duty to find out What Happened to his baby bro.

There wasn’t much to go on. Just a cablegram, and a box that showed up months later with his personal effects. I used to have his aviator’s sunglasses, that were gifted to me when I found them in the attic of Grandpa’s house by Grandpa when I was a kid… unfortunately they are lost to the mists of time. Wee bit of a piss-me-off there for me not understanding the significance Aye?

Ah, the ignorance of youth. A blessing in many ways, and in this case, a curse.

Anyways… to continue…

There were lots of ‘rumors’ as to the how, where, when, and why about Uncle Connie’s death. It didn’t help that this was during the time of primitive typewriter/mimeograph stuff, and it took weeks to get letters and info back to a family, IF there was anything to be gotten anyways.

Connie had joined the Army Air Corps right out of college. Specifically Harvard Business School. If he’d survived, I have a hunch he would have been destined for greatness. He enlisted in Suffolk County, Boston Massachusetts.

Because he got his degree early, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.

Now… this is where things go and start getting weird. Grandpa got word that Connie had been shot down over Europe in France. From who? Unknown. Now, the Allies, to include the US, had been bombing France since January of 1940, so it was plausible that Uncle Connie got shot down over there. Problem was, the Cablegram specifically stated Connie had cashed his chips in the South Pacific. The thing was, there was no info on Connie even being in the South Pacific that Grandpa (at the time) knew of.

So Grandpa went and hit the village of Epinal, in Vosges, near Lorraine France around 1949? The timing is fuzzy. Either way, he found the grave of Cornelius Francis O’Leary:

As you may be able to see, there’s a big problem.

Connie Not-Connie? according to this died March 4th 1944. Connie Not-Connie? was also on this marker listed as a Tech Sergeant. This caused quite a bit of confusion with Grandpa as you can well imagine.

Now, cut to a few years later, he found a wee bit of clarity to a point. During a trip to the Philippines in 1961? I think +/- a few years, he stopped and went to the Manila American Cemetery at Fort Bonafacio. While he was there, he started checking the “Walls of the Missing”

The tablets make up the support structure of the rather large Memorial:

There are over 36,286 Missing In Action Marines, Soldiers, Airman and Naval personnel carved into the tablets. To give you a perspective, that’s just in the South Pacific Theater. The surrounding graves number at 17,191 known KIA, buried surrounding the Memorial itself. LITERALLY the MIA troops outnumber the KIA at a almost 2 to 1 basis.

So far, only 436 MIAs have been recovered.

The Pacific was truly a savage war.
Back to the story.
Grandpa went to the “O’s” on the tablets (they’re alphabetically arranged), and found his brother:

Mind you, Grandpa had been searching for 20 plus years for this. He’d gone to every. single. American DotMil Cemetery in the Pacific, as well as that one in France. Manila was the last one where he struck paydirt.

So, you must be asking “What the Hell Big Country? Are they same guy or what’s the deal? Same name, but different death dates? What’s going on?”

Well… this’s when everything pegs into a 11 out of 10 on the weird-shit-o-meter. Hold on ‘cos this time, I’m NOT exaggerating as an Irishman is prone to. Even Sapper got weirded by this.

Last night, I found the online Enlisted Records from the National Archives. Specifically “NARA – AAD – Display Full Records – Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 – 1946 (Enlistment Records)” which was the microfiche. In it, I found TWO enlistment records.

In them I found that there were TWO dudes Named Cornelius Francis O’Leary in the Army Air Corps at approximately the same time!!!

BOTH had the same. exact. name.

BOTH were born in 1914.

BOTH were from Boston, and enlisted there as well.

BOTH enlisted in 1942, with my Uncle Connie signing up in January, and Not-Connie as I call him, in August. I was able to differentiate from the two by the serial numbers as Uncle Connie’s DotMil serial number started with an “O” for Officer, and Not-Connie had an enlisted man’s Serial number. Also, the education for Uncle Connie was a 4 year college degree, whereas Not-Connie had one year of high school.

BOTH flew the same type of aircraft/airframe, as Connie’s plane that he was on at the time of his death was a A-20A Attack Plane. Not-Connie was on a B-24 when he died. Seeing that traditional Bombers sucked at bombing moving Japanese ships, they used the earlier produced A-20A ‘Havoc’ (first flown in 1936) and installed a metric shit-ton of .50cal M2 Machine Guns and 20mm Oerlikon Cannons… Heavy hitting like you read about!

I then went to a Genealogy website, which gave me this screen capture to show of what I speak:

Holy. Hells.
I can’t even figure what the odds of some shit like that happening. Shit like this makes me think the “Matrix” glitched again or something. I mean seriously!?!

Not only that, I followed up by checking Not-Connie’s family tree, juuuust to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind:

No relations to OUR family.
To repeat myself: What ARE the odds amiright?
Astro-fucking-nominal I think… a Billion-to-One?
Whew…. Crazy right?

OK, so now a 82 year old mystery on the whole “who” part of the equation, as well as the real “when”.

The “where” and “why” took a bit more work.
I found back in 2020 a website Pacific Wrecks. It’s a database of ALL the known aircraft that crashed in the Pacific, with dates of crashes, crew info, and all sorts of ‘stuff’ related to the crashed aircraft. If the wreck is found, they update and annotate as appropriate. Their mission as stated “Pacific Wrecks is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing home those Missing In Action (MIA) and leveraging new technologies in the study of past conflicts.”

So back in 2020, I started there.
I found out that Uncle Connie had died while on a flight from Cairns Airfield in Australia head to Port Moresby New Guinea. He was on an A-20A Havoc named the “Abijah Gooch” which was a character from the comic “Lil’ Abner”. Pacific Wrecks had the following:
A-20A “Abijah Gooch” Serial Number 40-155

5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardier Group
3rd Bombardment Group (3rd Attack Group) “The Grim Reapers”
89th Bombardment Squadron (89th BS)

Pilot: 2nd Lt. Francis C. Pruitt, O-442230 (MIA / KIA) LA
Crew: 2nd Lt. Cornelius F. O’Leary, O-649101 (MIA / KIA) MA
Crew: SSgt Roger S. Martin, 11014927 (MIA / KIA) NH
Crew: S/Sgt Roland C. Noyes, Jr., 18010733 (MIA / KIA) TX
MIA: November 16, 1942
MACR: none

Now, I added the two pics for referential purposes.
And an IMPORTANT thing is that thing at the bottom? The MACR? That is the Missing Air Crew Report. During World War II the U.S. Army Air Forces (AAF) required group echelon units to submit Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) to AAF headquarters within two days after an aircraft or air crew failed to return from a combat mission.

According to this website there wasn’t a MACR to be had.

To the point that back in 2020, I had submitted a request to the National Archives to get a copy of the MACR or at least find out IF there was one. The reply was this:
“The National Archives has custody of the Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General (Record Group 92), Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs), 1942 – 1947 (Entry A1 2109-B). After reviewing the Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General (Record Group 92), Name Index to the Series Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs), 1942 – 1947 (Entry A1 2109-A) we located the index card for Cornelius F. O’Leary which connected him to MACR 16437. However, after searching that number within Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs), 1942 – 1947 ( A1 2109B) no results were yielded. Please note that during the course of World War II some 16,700 Missing Air Crew Reports were filed. Unfortunately, not all losses are documented. As MACRs have all been digitized, they are free to the public through our Catalog. We also located index cards for other members of the crew all of which were also connected to MACR 16437.”

That being said I did a hell of a lot of digging now than I did back then. I found the Record Group (92). Thing was, it contained 2347 files and I have NO IDEA how many individual pages. And BTW, side note? THIS is why I didn’t get to bed until 0330 and why I didn’t blog last night… FFS it’s now 0251 RN… I’ve been at this for 3 or 4 hours…

The things I do for y’all.
After what seemed like an interminable time, I found the MACR… my hunch is the prick at the Archive didn’t want to dig deeply to find my info. Fucker.
So here’s what I found. This’s the complete MACR that was done retroactively on February 28th, 1948.

Now, what I glean from this, is the plane took off at 0900 from Cairns, in GREAT weather, and was heading to Port Moresby, and suffered some form of catastrophic failure that was so bad, there was zero evidence left. As stated in the report “…it is reasonable to believe that any survivors would have been reported or picked up by friendly vessel(s) or plane(s) had the plane crashed or made a forced-water landing. Since this crew has not been heard from in over ten months, it is reasonable to presume that they are ‘deceased.’ “

The reason for that was that the Cairns-Moresby flight was a milk run so to speak. They had multiple flights back and forth daily as it was only an hour +/- flight at 520 miles each way.

IF someone had seen anything (oil slick/wreckage/bodies/rafts) then it would have been noticed. Seeing that the Battle of the Coral Sea had been fought in May of 1942, there were no enemy to speak of that could have shot them down.

And as far as recovery or finding a wreck now?
Well, back in 2020, as well as 2021, I went and found almost ALL of the SCUBA shops that offered dive excursions on and around Cairns and Port Moresby. Believe it or not, there are 3 A-20 Havocs that are within ‘normal’ diving range’ i.e. no mixed gasses needed. I got in contact with them all, and kindly, they let me know that they (as a collective group so to speak) had not found the Abijah Gooch, but IF they did, they’d be in contact. Another issue is once you get past the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns, headed to Port Moresby, the drop off is sudden and dramatic:

As you ca see, the drop goes from 20m +/- to an INSANE 5500 meters plus. Some of the Dive Shop guys told me if it went down in deep water, that was all she wrote, leastways until we get some seriously advanced deep sea diving tech that’s affordable and easy to use.

Now, Uncle Connie was listed in the MACR as the copilot, but not officially listed as on flight status.  That being said, even back in the day, they played fast and loose with the rules, and from what I can tell, Connie had some serious balls and might have been volunteering and going on combat missions for fun.  His official title was listed as the “Unit Statistical Officer.”

Sound boring AF in my opinion.

I found a definition as follows: The purpose of the statistical training was to prepare statistical officers to gather information about personnel, aircraft, and equipment and to present facts and analyze them in ways that would suggest improvements for future missions and other operations.

Yep. I was right.
Absolutely Boring As Fuck.
No wonder he might have been volunteering for combat missions. I know I would have, and it would go a long way in explaining MY propensity for battle-lust as only Uncle Connie, Uncle Tim, and myself out of a SCAD of relatives on BOTH sides of that family really enjoyed being a part of the DotMil as well as being fucking good at it.

So, training for that particular job was conducted at Harvard University, but I have no official confirmation that he attended the course there but it is highly likely as he did earn his degree at Harvard. This apparently handles the “where” details of this mystery.

Now, as far as the “why” of what happened?
That’s a bit complicated.
According to a lot of sources, there was a big problem of fuel contamination that led to a lot of downed aircraft of all designation. B-17s, B-24s, B-25s, and of course the A-20a. Something tells me that the fuel probably had something to do with it. Maybe a fire or something that blew a wing off? Hard to say… either way… this’s been a hell of a project and journey. I emailed MomUnit and the other surviving relatives everything I found. Hope they appreciate the effort (0355 now… I’m fucking tired.)
Lastly, earlier I said we didn’t have a picture.
well, while checking my sources, I found on a page that didn’t have this before, on OzAtWar Dot Com, another relative, “Timothy O’Leary” submitted this pic:

The caption on the back of the photo reads:- “Connie, Mother, Father, Dan”.

And yeah, that is my Grandpa on the right.
How cool is that?

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed the writing and research. Once I got started, I was like a cat unravelling a sweater… to include tonight.

I couldn’t stop until I found what I did.  
So, let me know your thoughts.
More Later
Big Country

45 thoughts on “Now For Something Different and Personal.”

  1. Fascinating stuff, Bill. I’m a bit of an airplane dork and the A-20 is a favorite. I knew my gal was a keeper when she got me a framed WWII magazine ad for Oldsmobile-built 20mm cannon for the A-20G, not Oerlikons but license-produced Hispano-Suiza guns. There was no provision for a co-pilot on any A-20. The original Douglas DB-7 and the A-20A, -B, and -C models had a glass nose where a bombardier could ride; these versions also had rudimentary flight controls the rear gunner could theoretically use to steer the thing to a gentler crash landing should the pilot be incapacitated. The -G version with the quad-20MM nose got a Martin power turret to replace the scarff ring rear MG mount of the early marks, and the -J and -H marks returned to a glass nose for a bombardier. AFAIK no A-20 had seats for more than three crew members.

    Been trying to track down some family service record from the big one but the 1968 service record fire really fucked things up. FIL’s namesake died on Luzon as a 30 year-old private in 1945 but I can’t find more than that.

    1. The J variant had room for two in the bomber nose, they were intended to be the lead bombers in squadrons. As far as i know its the only version of the A-20 to have a 4the seat.

      1. Ok some C variants had a crew of 4 as well, 2 gunners, pilot and bomber.

        That serial number was an A variant though. So no idea where the extra body was squeezed in

    1. I loved the Pygmies’ response — “We don’t eat random white men that fall out of the sky.”

  2. Very, very cool that you did this research. Whenever I hear the name “O’ Leary”, I will remember this soldier.

    1. When I found out they took like 10 days to figure out that Uncle Connie was on the plane, I realized that the unit didn’t know where he was for those ten days, and it took them that long to track him down LOL
      That grants him a High Dark Sith Lord-Level Sham Artist!

      Odds are they probably thought he was out on a bender

  3. Man! You had to keep digging & I had to keep reading, this early AM. Good Job! All my relatives made it back. Most came back to n. Iowa & lived to a ripe old age. Some stories, but most were pretty quiet about their service. Thanks for a great wakeup.

  4. That A-20A airframe attack plane sure looks likes it could be the earlier version of what we know as the “Warthog” A-10

  5. Great detecting work. Finding my (Great?) Uncle was much easier he’s in Saint-Avold, Departement de la Moselle, Lorraine, France. Made it until Nov ’44.

  6. I once saw my name on a WW2 memorial. Some poor 2LT from my state. Exact same spelling, but no relation that I know of.

  7. Wow- I am impressed! That was some awesome research!! I really liked the 3 panel pic at the end. I am damned tired of parents burying their sons so that the Elites in the US/EU can further their checkbooks. Literally massacred millions of young men on both sides in WW2-when Hitler could have easily been controlled early on.

    1. Hitler wasn’t responsible for the war. The United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and France did everything they could to push Germany into a war.
      As did international Jewry. “Judea Declares War on Germany,” 24 MAR 1933. The people that controlled the media and the banks today shaped a narrative back then as well.
      The more I’ve researched all of this over the years, the more I’ve become convinced that Hitler wanted to bring Germany to greatness and save Europe from the Bolshevik threat. Luckily that didn’t happen and now Europe is flooded with blacks and browns and toddlers can have their dicks chopped off.

  8. I know whereof ye speak. I lost an uncle in VietNam in 1968. He was a Marine. He lasted about 16 days in country. I dug all I could to find out about him, I still would like to read the daily reports from his unit. If’n I could find them.

  9. Thank you for the story. Since you shared, Connie has a whole new crew to remember him.

  10. If you haven’t seen the movie Death Hunt, find it and watch it. It’s got Charles Bronson in it as well. Two bad asses. The bonus is the movie has a smoking hot Angie Dickinson in it as well.

  11. Thanks for the very interesting article. Good Job!
    Dad was in charge of fuel and refueling for a group of B-26 Marauders off of grass fields in the 9th. Army Air Force. First in England, then France, and last in Belgium.

  12. A most excellent post. Thank you.
    May I recommend “Ripples of Battle” by the classic military historian Victor Davis Hanson (VDH)? His book covers the Battle of Okinawa (1945), the Battle of Shiloh (1862), and the Battle of Delium (424 BC).
    VDH was researching the death of his uncle of the same name. Uncle Victor was killed May 19, 1945, in an assault on Sugar Loaf Hill. In 2002, VDH located and interviewed surviving members of Uncle Victor’s Marine Company. In a phone conversation with a former member of Fox Company, Louis Ittmann, Louis asked if VDH would like Uncle Victor’s ring. Louis was there the day Uncle Victor died and had carried the ring for 52 years since the day Uncle Victor died…
    Battle of Shiloh, should have been a defeat for the Union Army but U.S. Grant was saved by William T. Sherman’s actions. They stuck together for the remainder of their careers. Side notes: one of the Union Generals (Lew Wallace) later became the author of “Ben-Hur” which was intended to reflect on his experiences (betrayals) with politicians after the Battle of Shiloh. The Confederate cavalry commander (Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest) fighting a fierce rear-guard action was wounded by a Union Soldier who placed his rifle against the commander’s side and severely wounded him. Forrest survived and later went on to form the Ku Klux Klan…
    Battle of Delium was a resounding defeat against the Athenians with the Athenian army breaking and withdrawing from the field. You may have heard of a Greek philosopher named Socrates. Socrates was a Hoplite (Heavy Infantryman) with the Athenian Army. Socrates was recognized for his “…gallantry in the flight, how he backpedaled and made an orderly withdrawal toward the borderland…” in this battle that was one of three battles in which he fought as a Hoplite. Later works have Socrates describing how to attack and fend off blows in isolated combat…
    What you are doing is important. You are documenting history for your descendants. Kudos to you.

  13. Damn fine detective work, a side hustle or something to fall back on if the glorious peoples tractor factory doesn’t work out?
    Look at those beautiful White pypo (people) at the end, all that we have lost…we must take back.
    Loves me some James Coburn in Cross of Iron from 1977, one of the most underrated WAR flicks but it does have some mondo bizarre scenes that turn some off.
    Salute to both C. O’Leary troops and may the road rise with you.

    1. That is Peckinpah’s best. He had all those Czech T 34’s to use in the Russian assault scenes. The movie was about the retreat to Kerch. There was no bridge there at the Time.

  14. I did similar work on my would-have-been Uncle Bruce. He was my mom’s brother. At the time of the war, Mom’s family lived in Niagra Falls, NY but around that time they would live on one side of the Niagra river as well as the other. US or Canada – it was transparent to them. Uncle Bruce lied about his age and tried to enlist when he 16 but none of the US armed forces would take him. Then when he was 17 or so, judging by his pictures, he finally finagled his way into the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force). Uncle Bruce became a tail gunner on a Lancaster bomber. Before long he and his crew were flying missions out of England. Long story short, one night Mom’s mom had a dream that Bruce’s airplane had been shot down. She received the telegram the very next day. At first, Mom’s dad refused to believe his son had been killed in action. In one letter to the “Department of National Defence for Air” (his words) he wrote, “I do not give up hope of not hearing from him yet.” Hope is hope and reality is something else. Uncle Bruce is interred at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery in Germany. I have copies of scant military records and pictures of his grave marker. KIA October 28, 1944

    1. OK
      I have a file I found already. Name: Bruce E G******** (OPSEC) from Niagara Falls. It’s got letters and all the pertinent. PM Me your addy and I’ll send it to you. BCE187th @ I already emailed you at the one in the comment, but if thats not real, shoot me the one you want to receive it or a google link as it IS 15+meg of intel.

      1. It even has copies of letters your Grandma Grandpa wrote to the Department of National Defense for Air, Ottawa CA.
        Definitely YOUR Uncle. 25 pages of hi-res documents.

  15. BCE, good detective work but it makes me sad that a promising young man had his life snuffed out so young. If you study them, NONE of the wars in the 20th century were necessary especially WWII.
    If you don’t believe me, research WHO was backing Hitler and the Nazis along with Stalin and the Communists BEFORE the war.
    Still this young man like my Grandfather and all of his brothers joined up to defend their country.
    It’s so damn sad, you should have known your great uncle and played with his grandkids when you were young instead his remains probably rest at the bottom of the deep and dark Coral Sea.

    1. Jimmy, the war that is coming up is not needed, yet we are going to have to fight it and a civil war too, who knows? I am too old and crippled up enough for slogging in a theater of war, but I can sure shoot the bastards at home… and it will come to that.

    2. The moves that Stalin was making in the run-up to the war are (sadly and purposefully) not widely known. He wanted to get Germany, France, and Britain to have another WWI and grind themselves down to nothing, and then the Red Army would march to the channel, bringing “peace” with them.

      1. So true, in addition to purging his officer corps why did the Red Army collapse in the early days of Operation Barbarossa when the Wehrmacht attacked ?

        I’ve played a ton of war games over the years and it is obvious when you look at the placing of the Red Army. They were prepping for an attack NOT defense, a fact that Lefty college professors NEVER want to admit.
        Hitler when he said “I need to attack Stalin before he attacks me” was in that instance speaking the truth.

        1. Exactly. The soldier’s diaries, from both German and Russian sides, talk about the same posture.

  16. Amazing work BCE, the family of many Ghosts of War are proud. I’m sure this, as already noted in responses, will be inspired, and sharing the links for your research certainly helps.

    I have, without a doubt, your Great Uncle, along with his frens, is looking down and smiling at your efforts. This was great work and a reason why America got where it got before it became Clown World FUSA.

    Thanks again for the entertaining and fun blog. God Bless you and your family in the days to come!

  17. Always interesting when you look into past family. Never what you expect. Your great uncle had a boring, paper pushing job but decided to volunteer for something more exciting. Like my dad. During Korea his job was a lowly Hospitalman 3rd Class. His real task was gathering info and samples on the progression of diseases in a wartime population for the Navy Department of Bacterialogical Warfare. We found his commendation papers and other documents after he passed. We also knew he was adopted the details of which were another weird story that we tracked down. I’m quite convinced there is no such thing as a “normal” family tree. How is Gretchen? Recovering well I trust.

  18. Great detective work BCE. I’m glad you were able to find out about your great uncle. My great uncle Dub was the only relative I know of who was in WWII. He was a sapper under Patton in the Battle of the Bulge. Family history is interesting though it can be tainted by family myths. Grandma used to say we were related to Confederate General Tilghman but her mom’s family didn’t spell their name that way.

  19. Mornin’ BCE. 1st – I hope Gretchen is recovering well.

    As to your Unc – dam fine work ya did here! As someone who’s into the genealogy thing meself – rather bigly – I totally understand how much work goes into a project like this. Having dealt with NARA too, I think you’re likely correct about the weenie you dealt with just not wanting to spend the time (or effort) looking deep enough for the info about the MACR. Dam good story, too. This kinda stuff is what keeps me so interested in genealogy. Ya never know what you’ll find. Every one of my Unc’s were in WWII, in various branches and theaters. I was very fortunate that they all got back – way too many weren’t so fortunate. My Grandpa even tried to enlist after being in the Spanish American war in Cuba, then hanging out there for a bit after it was over. Then he went to the Philippines for The Insurrection (where a machete sent him home). 2nd Inf Reg (Regular Infantry), Co L. He’s the one I’m named after. Makes me DAM proud! Anyway, YA DONE GOOD! Keep on keepin’ on!!

    Y’all take care,
    Mike in FLA. (yer almost neighbor)

  20. Off topic, BC, but keep your eyes on the weather. If you guys down there get what we got at 3:30 this morning up in the panhandle, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
    Mother Nature was PMSing HARD. 5+ hours with no power, widespread wind damage…minimum of 70 MPH bursts. All headed southeast.

  21. I had an uncle, by marriage, James O’Leary who joined the Air Corps and flew Mustangs in the ETO. But he was from Lexington, not Boston, still I wonder if he was a relation.

    My mom’s cousin waa with the 91st Bomb Group, he died in 43, when his B17 crashed into the North Sea.
    Anyway, I didn’t have a picture of him so I went to the Group’s Association page and found a picture of him.

  22. BCE, any relation to Paul O’Leary, born in Dorchester 1928, and retired as Colonel of the New Hampshire State Police?

  23. While stationed in Gemany in the mid 80s I went to Normandy, St. Vith, Bastogne, Eindhoven, Nijmegan, Arnhem, Oosterbeek and a few other places. My dad and a lot of the folks in town fought in Europe. Went to Normandy twice, Holland 3 times and Belgium/Luxembourg once.

  24. Hi BCE,

    Well done on all of your family research, that family history is so important.

    My Grandfather was a machine gunner in the 6th Machine gun Bn with the 1st AIF ( Australian Imperial Forces ) of WW1. He served on the Western Front, and despite being gassed with mustard gas was lucky enough to come back home to Oz, and bought home an English bride. I was able to download his full service record from the Australian War Memorial website where they have copies of soldiers records.

    A few years ago I was able to take the family for a holiday to France and we spent time going around the regions where he fought, and the War Graves are so well maintained, but their seems to be large war cemetaries in every few towns. We went to Normandy as well and it is really emotional just seeing how many soldiers were killed in that area. Just horrific.

    All the best from Oz.

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