Back: P/O Allen R. Page (RAAF) - Capt. Smiling Tom P. Gerrity - M/Sgt Melvin E. Owens - Sgt. Al Fawe - Cpl. Ed D. Connor
Front: T/Sgt Al Simmons - T/Sgt James G. Westbrook - Unknown - Unknown
Yesterday, I wrote about a Leo Alumnus (dec.) - Thomas P. Gerrity* ( Leo Class of 1930 - the Charter Class). Thomas P. Gerrity became one of the pioneers of the Missile Program that eveolved into NASA and landed a man on the moon. Tom Gerrity died of a heart attack in in 1968, while directing the missile program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio,
The photos linked here were taken in May and and June of 1942. Less than a month before, Tom Gerrity escaped the Fall of Bataan when he was ordered out to Australia - there were more planes than pilots Down Under. Tom Gerrity fought in the Phillipines from December 1941 through April, 1942 as a medium bomber pilot whose plane was bombed and straffed (Gerrity was wounded in that attack) before it could fly from Nichols Field, as an air liason officer, flying a P-40 to and from Corregidor for General Wainwright, the scapegoat chosen by Douglas MacArthur for his own failures, as a member of the Bataan 24th Pursuit Group flying obsolete and shot-up planes against the Japanese and as a rifleman when the planes ran out.
Gerrity starved on Bataan and stayed in the fight even though he was racked by malaria and bone-breaking dengue fever.
Lieutenant Gerrity and several other pilots managed to get a Navy float-plane back in shape and flew it to Mindanao, where they were picked up and taken to Australia by members of their Bomb Group, who had been ordered out earlier.
Tom Gerrity was married and had a son back home in the States.
America was beaten all over the Pacific and Asia. Only a few pilots managed to take the fight to Japan, Tom Gerrity, starved, wounded and sick, stayed in the fight. He flew a bomber nicknamed 'Mortimer.'
In the following months, Gerrity flew 49bombing missions and sank 28 Japanese ships,
That is not a rhetorical question.
Born December 8, 1913
Died February 24, 1968 (aged 54)
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1939-1968
Commands held Air Force Logistics Command
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Air Medal (2)
Relations Thomas P. Gerrity (son)[1