|Lt. Henry O'Neill played briefly for the Philadelphia Athletics.|
Henry Mink "Porky" O'Neill never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on May 8, 1917 in Pennsylvania. His father was also born in Pennsylvania and his mother was born in Ireland. His father was a chemical engineer. Henry had one older brother ten years his senior. He attended college in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where he was a three sport athlete. He was the center on championship football and basketball teams and a catcher on the baseball team that won the 1938 Eastern Pennsylvania Intercollegiate baseball title.
Henry was a good enough baseball player that Connie Mack signed him to play for the Philadelphia Athletics when he graduated in June 1939. He was the third string catcher and only played the end of one game, never even having a chance to bat. He was not re-signed at the end of the season, so he took a job teaching history and coaching at a junior high school.
Henry enlisted in the Marines on December 2, 1942. He attended Marine Officers' Training School and graduated as a second lieutenant. He was assigned to a heavy weapons company, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division where he was promoted to first lieutenant.
Lt. O'Neill was involved in the amphibious assaults on Kwajalein, Saipan (where he was wounded), and Tinian. His final battle was on Iwo Jima. On March 6, 1945 (D + 15) during slow going against well positioned Japanese defenders, Lt. O'Neill was felled by a sniper. Casualties for the 4th Marine Division at Iwo Jima were high, over 50 percent. Lt. O'Neill was among 1,806 men from his division that did not leave the island alive.
His remains were returned to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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