|Birth: ||Oct. 13, 1916|
|Death: ||Jun. 4, 1942|
Midway Islands, UMI
2nd LT F. P. McCarthy, USMCR, was designated Naval Aviator #6417 in 1940. Entered active service via the pre-war Aviation Cadet (AVCAD) program.
Captain McCarthy, USMC, flying with Marine Fighting Squadron (VMF) 221 in out-dated F2A BUFFALO fighters during the Battle of Midway was declared Missing In Action (MIA) following his aggressive engagement against a superior force of Japanese fighters.
For his actions, the Navy Cross was awarded, posthumously.
The following detailed bio is from contributor Rick Lawrence MSgt., USMC/USAFR (RET):
Francis Paul McCarthy was the youngest child of William J. and Marie L. (Raymore) McCarthy. His father was an Army veteran of World War I, having served as a Major in the 101st Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry Division.
In 1922 his mother Marie died. His father remarried to a woman named Elizabeth B. _______ around 1923 or 1924. She would give William two more sons.
The 1930 U.S. Census shows the family as living in Newton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. The following family members were shown in the census as living in the home:
Head William J., 44 MA
Wife Elizabeth B. 40 MA
Daughter Marie L. 21 MA
Son James R. 16 MA
Son Francis P. 13 MA
Son Kenneth J. 5 MA
Son Ralph L. 2 MA
After Francis graduated high school, he attended college and decided on a career in aviation. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve on June 15, 1939 and following elimination flight training was appointed as an Aviation Cadet and sent to NAS Pensacola in September. Francis received Naval Aviator wings and commission as a Second Lieutenant on 27 June 1940. He was assigned to VMS-2 in San Diego, California. He was transferred to VMF-2 in December, and in July 1941 was assigned to newly-formed VMF-221. The squadron was on duty at San Diego when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Empire of Japan.
After the attack, VMF-221 was deployed to Ewa Field, Hawaii and then on to the island of Midway, flying F2A-3 Brewster Buffalo fighters. They would get their first taste of combat on March 10, 1942. Francis and three other fighters were sent up to intercept a Japanese flying boat that was taking photographic reconnaissance of the area. The fighters caught up with the Japanese plane and made short work out of it once they lost their cloud cover. It was the first victory for the squadron, and each of the four pilots received a bottle of bourbon from the base commander, Colonel William Wallace, and decorations from Admiral Chester Nimitz. Francis received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his part in the attack.
Francis was promoted to First Lieutenant and accepted a regular Marine Corps commission in April. Within a month, was promoted to the rank of Captain.
On June 4, 1942, Francis and his wingman, Second Lieutenant Roy Corry (See note below), started out their day as they had done many times before since arriving on Midway; doing a morning air patrol. As their gas tanks began to show empty they returned to base and learned that an attack on Midway was imminent and to refuel and get back up in the air. Francis and 2nd Lt. Corry did exactly that but within minutes of getting back in the air they were attacked by eight Japanese Zero fighters. During the dogfight, Francis shot down one of the Japanese Zeros. He and Lt. Corry soon became separated and lost sight of each other. Francis' plane was never seen again, undoubtedly a victim to the guns of the Zeros.
Francis' remains were never located. In all likelihood he is still at the controls of his plane on the Pacific Ocean floor.
Francis was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross Medal for his part in the battle. His citation for the award reads as follows:
"The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Francis P. McCarthy (0-6235), Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession while serving as Section Leader and a Pilot in Marine Fighting Squadron TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE (VMF-221), Marine Air Group TWENTY-TWO (MAG-22), Naval Air Station, Midway, during operations of the U.S. Naval and Marine Forces against the invading Japanese Fleet during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. Leading his section in a dauntless and aggressive attack against a vastly superior number of Japanese bomber and fighter planes, Captain McCarthy aided in disrupting the plans of the enemy and lessening the effectiveness of their attack, thereby contributing materially to the success of our forces. As a result of his courageous and daring tactics and because of circumstances attendant upon this engagement, there can be little doubt that Captain McCarthy gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country. He displayed the characteristics of a fine leader and excellent airman, in keeping with the highest standards of the United States Naval Service."
Captain Francis Paul McCarthy, SN# 0-6235, earned the following badges/decorations for his service to the United States Marine Corps during World War II:
- Navy/Marine Corps Pilot Wings
- Navy Cross Medal
- Distinguished Flying Cross Medal
- Purple Heart Medal
- Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon
- American Defense Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations Campaign Medal with one bronze battle/campaign star
- World War II Victory Medal
Francis' parents and other family members are buried at the New Calvary Cemetery, Mattapan, Massachusetts. There is a large tombstone on the family plot that lists all of the family who are buried there. Francis' name is included on that stone and researchers can see it at Find-A-Grave memorial #55019830.
**NOTE** - Lieutenant Roy Corry survived the Battle of Midway. He was reassigned to VMF-223 and on August 26, 1942, he was killed in action over the waters near Guadalcanal. Like Francis, his body was never found.
William Joseph McCarthy (1886 - 1957)
Marie L Raymore McCarthy (1883 - 1922)
Note: Entered the service from Massachusetts.
Plot: Tablets of the missing
Created by: Mike Weeks
Record added: Dec 02, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 45016444
In honored remembrance of your valiant service and ultimate sacrifice for our great nation and the Allied cause during World War II. May it not have been in vain. - SEMPER FIDELIS!|
Rick Lawrence, MSgt., , USMC/USAFR (RET)
Added: Dec. 7, 2013
CAPT, VMF 221|
Added: Dec. 31, 2012