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Daniel E O'Connell, MTO, 12thAF, 321stBombGroup
2009 | Ridley Park, PA
Dan's name is O'Connell (Not Oconnell, as spelled incorrectly on his enlistment records)
Daniel E. O'Connell -- January 5, 1921 - December 6, 1999 Dan was born in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, son of Philip and Marguerite O'Connell. Dan's mother died when he was nine days old, leaving a two year old daughter Sara and a four year old son John. Sara was raised by the O'Connell family and Dan and John were raised in West Grove, Pennsylvania by his mother's sister, Miss Priscilla Floyd who was 53 at the time. Also, in the home were two other maiden aunts, two bachelor Uncles and his grandmother. His Aunt Priscilla was named his guardian. She was the Principal in the grade school in West Grove. Dan graduated from AvonGrove High School in 1937 and had various jobs until he enlisted in the service shortly after war was declared. He received training as an Engineer/Gunner and served in North Africa in 1943. He flew 50 combat missions over Africa and Italy. After returning home in October 1943, he joined the Air Force Cadet Corps and received training as a Navigator. In 1944 at Maxwell Field in Montgomery, Alabama he met Jean Tatum and after a short courtship they became engaged. He shipped out six weeks later and went to San Marcos, Texas where he received his commission as a second Lieutenant in May 1945. He and Jean were married January 13, 1945 at the base Chapel. Dan spent the remaining time of his service teaching Navigation in San Marcos and was discharged in November 1945 After returning home, he and Jean moved to Wilmington, Delaware where he later joined the DuPont Company and worked there for 36 years. They had one son, Daniel E. Jr. in Wilmington and then two years later, Patricia Anne in Philadelphia. When Patty was only a few months old Dan was recalled in the Korean War and was sent to Texas for refresher training and later to Spokane, Washington where he finished training and was sent to Yokota Air Force Base in Tokyo Japan. Dan flew as a Navigator in a B29 and had 50 missions over Korea. On returning in 1953 he returned to the DuPont company and had various moves to St. Louis, Mo. Cleveland, Ohio where son Kevin J. O'Connell was born in 1959. Later that year he was transferred to Houston, Texas and in 1963 back to the home office in Wilmington, Delaware where the family spent the rest of his career. Dan retired on the last day of 1983 and he and Jean retired to Tampa, Florida and Ocean City, New Jersey. Later they bought another home in Wilmington and his remaining years were spent between Florida and Delaware. Dan loved his life and he loved retirement. He loved to play golf, gin rummy with the boys and enjoy his family. He was extremely patriotic and loved his family and his country above all else. He was deeply religious and gave much to others in various works. His main love was working with inmates at Gander Hill Prison trying to help them be rehabilitated. They loved Dan also and when he died, two of the exoffenders were ushers at his service. Written by his Wife, Jean O'Connell Byrnes and Family. Daniel E O'Connell was born on 5 Jan. 1921 in Ridley Park, PA. (Dan passed 6 Dec. 1999)
Daniel was an Engineer/Gunner on a B 25 Mitchell Medium Bomber in the 321st Bomb Group, the 447th Bomb Squad, with the Col Bob Knapp's fameous mass flight over the Atlantic. He flew over in the #41-31007, the "HARP" with Lt R Richardson. Feb. 1943.
Notes and "Dan's Story" entered by Barbi Ennis Connolly, 321st BG Historian, It ihas been such a great priviledge and honor to know and love these wonderful folks (and all in the 57th Bomb Wing), most especiall those who served with my our father, Edward C Ennis.