John James O'Leary never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on June 21, 1917 in South Dakota. His mother was born in Iowa of Canadian parents. His father was born in Ireland and came to America as a baby in 1880. His father worked as a carpenter and later a building contractor. John had an older sister, four younger sisters and one younger brother. By 1940 the family had moved from South Dakota to Montana but John had already moved out.
John's enlistment date is unknown, but he became an ensign who served as part of a PBY-5 crew.
On January 28, 1945 the pilot attempted a single engine water landing on the St. Johns River in Florida, The plane made a turn too close to the water. The wing struck the water and was torn off while the plane's hull was crushed. There were eleven men on board and six were killed including Ensign O'Leary.
His grave is at Mountain View Cemetery, Billings, Montana.
On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!
To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100