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Thomas Herlihy

This photo has a story behind it. Cpl, later S/Sgt, Thomas Herlihy is the tall guy in back row with the hat on, third from left. Kevin, Thomas`s son, said he was told this story about the picture: " Another enlisted men`screw threw a Tent Party" the night before this last mission at Giulia Field, Cerignola, Italy, as Thomas`s crew was supposed to be off the following day- not scheduled to fly the next day. They were awakened before dawn and told to dress and report to their aircraft, which apparently had no name. At the plane they were told to face the sunrise to pose for a photo that would be sent home to their families. Thomas said that the hangovers on the enlisted men were clearly visible on their faces, " Judge for yourselves".

Cpl Thomas Herlihy was nicknamed "Joe Balls", he never knew why; Cpl Harold J Goodwin of Fort Fairfield, Maine was named " Squirrely" Goodwin. He was the only one who signed out a Colt 45 sidearm before that flight and would not give it to his officers when they landed in Yugoslavia because he said if they lost it--- he would be court martialed!!



Cpl, later S/Sgt, Thomas Joseph Herlihy was a Tail Gunner on Lt Herbert O Wands' (Pilot) and Lt Willard J Konyndyk's (Co-Pilot) crew that was shot down on 1/19/45 on 459 Bomb Group`s Mission # 177 to bomb the Brod Rail road Bridge in Yugoslavia in which Lt Konyndyk was the only fatality of that mission.

We have further information other than the data on Lt Konyndyk`s serviceman page from Kevin and T J Herlihy, sons of Tail Gunner S/Sgt Herlihy, on that mission, who recently received the MACR data on the downing of this ship, a B-24J Serial number 44-10627 on January 19,1945. Kevin reports his mother received a telegram from the War Dept. March 10,1945 that listed the names and addresses of the crew and their relatives and or next of kin should she wish to write them. The other members of the crew were 2nd Lt Walter J Thorney, 2nd Lt Charles F Schumann, T/Sgt Richary L Elsey, Cpl Richard E Snyder, Cpl Harold J Goodwin, Cpl Stanley L Kantz, Cpl Raymond F Lucy,Jr and Edward J Waselewski.

The MACR data states that Lt Komyndyk said he " was reluctant to leave the aircraft and said " So Long and jumped". Kevin reports that his father,Cpl( later S/Sgt) Herlihy and the Flight Engineer Richard L Elsey are the ones who found Lt Konyndyk in the tree. He had broken his leg above the knee and was going into shock. They tried to throw him a knife with a lanyard to cut himself down, but he was already slipping out of consciousness. Cpl Herlihy tried to climb the tree but it was dormant for the winter and had shed its bark. It was like a greased pole ( remember this was the dead of winter in mountainous Yugoslavia). The crew went to a nearby farm house thru deep snow, got an ax from the farmer and returned with the farmer 4 to 5 hours later to cut the tree down. However, the Lt was dead from exposure and they buried him on the spot. The plane had crashed into a mountain top near Siprage, YU

All of the surviving crew were gathered safely by the Partisans and repatriated back to Bari, Italy and their 759th BS,

In the MACR report,Lt Wands states that after jumping the plane eventually crashed atop a mountain at Siprage,YU. Another part of the report states 2nd Lt Konyndyk`s body was not recovered,and that the crew buried him by the tree they felled to get him down. The rest of the crew were gathered safely at Jajce, YU and returned to Italy

Former 759th BS Tail Gunner Thomas J Herlihy died of a stroke October 21, 1996 and is buried ( In Good Company per his wishes ) at Calverto National Cemetery in Suffolk Count, Long Island, N Y Grave 1130 Section 17. One of the many Heroes of WW II.

S/Sgt Thomas Herlihy entered active service December 29th,1943, His date of departure for Italy was November 13th, 1944, arriving November 26,1944. He served in the following battles: North Apennines, Po Valley, Central Europe, Rhineland and Air Combat Balkans. He departed the European Theater August 3rd, 1945 and arrived in the US on August 23,1945.

He flew 15 Combat Missions and was shot down twice and was listed as MIA for over a month on one of these missions. He was assisted by the partisan underground on this mission and was repatriated back to the US AAF. His story is one we are waiting to hear from his two sons who are compiling information on these events.

MACR: 11391

Thomas Herlihy

S/Sgt Thomas Joseph Herlihy was assigned to the 459th BG 759th Squadron.


This photo has a story behind it. Cpl, later S/Sgt, Thomas Herlihy is the tall guy in back row with the hat on, third from left. Kevin, Thomas`s son, said he was told this story about the picture: " Another enlisted men`screw threw a Tent Party" the night before this last mission at Giulia Field, Cerignola, Italy, as Thomas`s crew was supposed to be off the following day- not scheduled to fly the next day. They were awakened before dawn and told to dress and report to their aircraft, which apparently had no name. At the plane they were told to face the sunrise to pose for a photo that would be sent home to their families. Thomas said that the hangovers on the enlisted men were clearly visible on their faces, " Judge for yourselves".

The following information on Thomas Herlihy is gathered and extracted from military records. We have many documents and copies of documents, including military award documents. It is from these documents that we have found this information on S/Sgt Herlihy. These serviceman's records are nowhere near complete and we are always looking for more material. If you can help add to Thomas Herlihy's military record please contact us.

  Rank General Order Date Notes Award Ribbon & Device

Thomas Herlihy

Cpl

2131

04/06/1945

 

AM

Air Medal (AM)

Thomas Herlihy

Cpl

2131

04/06/1945

 

AM/1OLC

Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

Thomas herlihy

Sgt

3103

05/10/1945

 

AM/2OLC

Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

Please contact us with any biographical data, pictures or other information regarding the service and life of Thomas Herlihy.

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