James Joseph O’Leary

Korean air fields

Korean air fields

James Joseph O’Leary was born in Manchester, New Hampshire on Christmas Eve 1927 and enlisted into the US Marine Corps when he was 18 at Boston, Mass on 16 January 1946.  He was my uncle, a career Marine and a man I wish I had known much better.  As his sole survivor, I was able to acquire his records which I will briefly outline here and in the next post.

Manchester, NH; circa 1930-40's when Jim O'Leary was growing up

Manchester, NH; circa 1930-40’s when Jim O’Leary was growing up

As a Pfc, he remained with the Headquarters Air Squadron, Quantico, VA until April 1947 when he was transferred to El Toro, Santa Ana, California; Marine Air Corps Squadron-1 and promoted to corporal.  Five months after his promotion to sergeant on 30 June 1948, Jim was back east. (Uncle Jim’s photo looks like a mug shot )

James J. O'Leary makes sergeant

James J. O’Leary makes sergeant

When he became a Staff Sgt. in April 1951, he was with B Company, 8th Engineer Battalion, Fleet Marine Force in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  As 1st Sgt., O’Leary was shipped out to Puerto Rico August 1951.  Upon his return home to the U.S., Uncle Jim remained in Camp Lejeune until he received his orders that Korea was in his future and he was off to San Diego in April 1952.

USMC Military Police

USMC Military Police

As shown in the Embarkation Slip below, his first stop was Yokohama, Japan.  Jim’s orders sent him on to the Marine Aircraft Group-12 at the K-6 Air Base in Pyontaek, Korea as a Military Police Sgt.  During his tour, he would also be stationed at K-3 in Pohang and that followed with K-10 in Chinhae.

Embarkation Slip - off to Korea 1952-53

Embarkation Slip – off to Korea 1952-53

MABS-12, 1st Marine Wing returned to the States at San Francisco and Sgt. O’Leary was sent to El Toro, Calif. with Marine Air Group-15.  Here was being designated as a T-Sgt.

As of November 1957, his records indicated that he was with the Marine Air Wing Squadron Group-37, 3rd Marine Wing.  In 1959, he is shown as the NOCIC (Commander-in-charge) of the camp maintenance department in San Francisco; MACS-4/Marine HQ/1st Marine Air Wing.

Click on photos to enlarge.


Farewell Salutes –

Baltas Birkle – Surfside Beach, SC; US Navy, LT>, ExOfficer, minesweeper USS Fulmar

Dennis Boyle – Newark, NJ; US Navy retired after 35 yearswar-on-terror01

Forrest Erickson DDS – Northbrook, IL; US Army, Captain, Korea

Joseph Galioto – Washington, DC; US Army BrigGeneral (Ret.)

Hazel Hall – Collingdale, PA; US Navy, WWII

William Lafferty – Westchester, IL; US Navy, WWII

John Muddle – Sydney, Australia; RANR, Sub Lieutenant, HMAS Westralia, WWII

Louis Pachter – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, training pilots in celestial navigation

Glen Wood – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII


To be continued…


About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on December 2, 2013, in Korean War, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. Mary Jo O'Leary Levesque

    I am thrilled to read the information posted about your uncle James Joseph O’Leary as I believe he may have been related to my own deceased father, John Francis O’Leary (also from Manchester, New Hampshire). My father, John, was born in 1919 and served with the U.S. Army (Big Red One) as a Master Sgt. during WWII. Unfortunately my father (son of Thomas Francis O’Leary and Josephine McCarthy) left NH after the war and was the only living O’Leary of his particular part of the family. I am his only survivor. I am now trying to find any of my father’s relatives to put together a family history. Please email me if you have any interest in comparing notes on family.


    • I would love to, but as I told Pierre in a previous comment, I do not have specific details at the moment. Should I come across ant, I would be very happy to compare notes.


  2. I know how special it is to have the documentation for your uncle. History is made up of hundreds of thousands of unique, individual stories, and every time we add a piece, the whole picture becomes more clear. I’m very happy for you.


  3. A great story on your uncle, credits to you for having pride in his achievements and history, I look forward to the continuation of his history.
    The name is interesting as it sounds Irish to me, indicating that you have an Irish background.


    • As far as I know, sort of English/Irish, have never been able to go too far back in ancestry. I had one grandfather from the British West Indies, owned a plantation, I believe St. Kitts, and I know his parents name, but that’s as far as it ever seems to get. Thanks for reading, Uncle Jim was a great guy.


  4. Wow! What a military family history! No wonder you’re so proud. Makes me proud and I’m not even related! 😉


  5. Wonderful you are able to pay tribute to your uncle !!!


  6. Interesting to obtain service records of relatives. It gives us an insight into the period and their lives. Thanks for sharing.


  7. Gosh I feel bad that I didn’t pick up on the connection earlier. I must find time to re-read the Korean War pieces to understand it better, I believe. Sorry for missing that!


  8. I am so pleased to see you were able to receive his military records, gpcox… and thank goodness he was USMC. As you know, nearly all of the Army and AF records were burned in that St. Louis Repository fire back in the 70’s. I would think Smitty’s was, too?

    I was also unaware that the USMC had MP’s… Why bother? LOL


    • Who knows (LOL) – I suppose if we look at M*A*S*H* again we might discover a few reasons. Yes, Smitty’s records were destroyed and that was what first started me on the hunt for researching his possible whereabouts and what the 11th A/B was up to during the war. I have Uncle Jim’s, some of it redacted, censored and/or missing (like his 2 tours of Vietnam info), it was struggle to get what I did.


  9. Both my older brothers were Marines. One retired and the other got out. The older one was in Vietnam with me. He was an interrogater I was G-3 liason from the 101st. I traveled to DaNang about four times a month and met with him. His unit was stationed just down the road from Marble Mountain which was later found to be a Vet Cong marshalling area. It was cool to be in the same area where we could keep up. Thanks for sharing.


  10. He was just a few miles north of me, when he was a Q-town. Of course, I wasn’t even a thought yet, much less born at that time..lol


  11. I never caught the personal history tag in your Korean posts, but I enjoyed learning about your uncle.


  12. I’m glad I got a chance to “meet” your Uncle. Thank you for sharing.


  13. This reader feels a more personal bond to you by including a family member into the storyline of the blog.


    • I was wondering when someone would ask me why I continued to Tag the Korean War posts under Family History, but it never happened. I have mentioned Uncle Jim in the past, but I suppose not enough for anyone to catch the connection. This is the main reason I agreed to do the Korean section.


  14. I love this archive you are making: a tribute and a resource for everyone.


  15. Great docs…I hope that by posting about it someone reads your blog and adds to the story. You never know…Pierre has had great success recently, though it did take two years to get a return.


    • Yes, that’s true. Pierre’s sites have been doing outstanding of late and he’s always checking up on me to be certain I’m doing things right. Don’t know what I’d do without him. I recently heard from a man who says his great-uncle knew my father at the Los Banos!!! Imagine my surprise and happiness!


  16. It’s very nice of you to remember your uncle and pay homage to him on this blog.
    I know how you must feel about it.


  17. Koji, I don’t know what to say. The words Thank You seem to fall so short!


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