Ens Frank Woodrow O'Flaherty

Ens Frank Woodrow O'Flaherty

Tonopah, Nye County, Nevada, USA
Death 15 Jun 1942 (aged 24)
At Sea
Cenotaph Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA

* A structure erected in honor of someone whose remains lie elsewhere.

Plot Courts of the Missing
Memorial ID 56127242 · View Source
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Ensign Frank Woodrow O'Flaherty, class of 1936, was inducted into the Bonner Springs High School Hall of Fame on Friday, January 15, 2016
Michael John O'Flaherty and Carrie Etta Maria Cuddy were married about 1904. They were the parents of at least seven children: William J "Willie," Paul S., Roy Joseph, James Matthew, Lavada, Catherine Joan, and Frank.

Michael O'Flaherty was a machinist who worked for several mining companies and a power company in Nevada. Carrie was a homemaker. She was a victim of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 when she died.

After his mother died in Nov 1918 Frank and his siblings were split up. In 1920, his aunt, Katie Cuddy Lamb took his grandmother, Carrie Cuddy, and her grandchildren, Lavada, Catherine and Frank O'Flaherty into her home in Gallatin, MO. Katie was married to Orange Scott Lamb and they had two children at the time, Virginia and Katherine. By 1925, The Lambs were providing a home for Frank O'Flaherty and his grandmother, Carrie Cuddy in Bonner Springs, KS where Frank would remain until he enlisted in the US Navy in Sept 1940. Frank's two sisters, Lavada and Catherine, had moved elsewhere, probably with their uncle Frank O'Flaherty in Wabasha, WI where they were enumerated in the 1930 US census. Catherine was in Rochester, MN working as a waitress in 1940, however, the whereabouts of Lavada at this time is unknown. The Lambs probably raised Frank as their own son as they only had two daughters. In honor of Frank, his aunt Kathryn had a cenotaph placed in the cemetery in which she is also buried; Mount Moriah Cemetery, Kansas City, Jackson, MO. Also inscribed on his cenotaph is the name of one of her children, born in 1903 and who died in 1904, baby Joe Lamb.
Frank entered the US Naval Reserve (V5) on 25 Sept 1940 (NSN: 4111716) as seaman 2c in Kansas City, KS. He was discharged on 26 Jan 1941 and the next day he was appointed Aviation Cadet with special orders to NAS Pensacola to begin his flight training. He received his commission as an Ensign, AV-(N), USNR, on 12 Sept 1941. He reported to Scouting Squadron Six (VS-6) aboard USS Enterprise (CV-6) on 5 Feb 1942. On 4 June 1942 The Air Battle of Midway began. Later that day after his squadron had bombed the Japanese carrier strike force they were attacked by enemy fighters as they were attempting to return to Enterprise. Frank's plane was hit by some of the fire and his plane began losing fuel. Already low on fuel he wasn't able to return to the Enterprise and was forced to ditch. Other members of his squadron saw him and his radioman/gunner, Aviation Machinst's Mate First Class Bruno P. Gaido, get out of their plane and deploy their life raft. That was the last anyone ever heard of them. That is, until the end of the war, when US investigators found that O'Flaherty and Gaido had been picked up by the Japanese destroyer Makigumo on 4 Jun alive and well. After O'Flaherty and Gaido were interrogated the ship's commander had them bound with weights and thrown overboard where they drowned. The exact date isn't known but its assumed to be around June 15, 1942. Without the facts learned after the war, the Navy department listed them as missing in action on 04 Jun 1942 and presumed dead on 05 Jun 1943.

Ens O'Flaherty was awarded the Navy Cross, the Purple Heart and the Presidential Unit Citation.
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Ensign Frank Woodrow O'Flaherty (NSN: 0-98693), United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Scouting Plane of Scouting Squadron SIX (VS-6), attached to the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6), during the "Air Battle of Midway," against enemy Japanese forces on 4 - 6 June 1942. Participating in a devastating assault against a Japanese invasion fleet, Ensign O'Flaherty, with fortitude and resolute devotion to duty, pressed home his attacks in the face of a formidable barrage of anti-aircraft fire and fierce fighter opposition. His gallant perseverance and utter disregard for his own personal safety were important contributing factors to the success achieved by our forces and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 309 (December 1942)

Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the crew of the USS Enterprise (CV-6) and its Carrier Air Group Six. The citation reads:
For consistently outstanding performance and distinguished achievement during repeated action against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific war area, 7 December 1941, to 15 November 1942. Participating in nearly every major carrier engagement in the first year of the war, the Enterprise and her air group, exclusive of far-flung destruction of hostile shore installations throughout the battle area, did sink or damage on her own a total of 35 Japanese vessels and shot down a total of 185 Japanese aircraft. Her aggressive spirit and superb combat efficiency are fitting tribute to the officers and men who so gallantly established her as an ahead bulwark in the defense of the American nation.
His family also received a commemoration from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It reads: In grateful memory of Frank Woodrow O'Flaherty, who died in the service of his country, SEA, Pacific Area, ATTACHED U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, 5 JUNE 1943 (Presumed)*. He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives -- in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.

(Signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt,
President of the United States

(*Presumed dead on 5 Jun 1943. Actual date gone missing was 4 Jun 1942.)
The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) - 14 Dec 1943, Tue - p. 7
"Name Ship for Cuddy's nephew"
A nephew of Roy G. Cuddy, Walton, is to have a destroyer named in his honor. It is to be called the U.S.S. O'Flaherty and will be christened in Orange, Tex., Tuesday. Ensign Frank Woodrow O'Flaherty, Kansas City, was killed in the battle of Midway. His sister, Ensign Lavada M. O'Flaherty, navy nurse, has been designated by the secretary of the navy to christen the vessel in honor of her brother. Ensign O'Flaherty held the navy cross medal, the American defense service medal and the purple heart.
The Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) - 7 Dec 1943 - page 6.
"Navy Nurse To Be Sponsor of Vessel"
Houston, Tex., Dec 8, The first member of the navy nurse corps to sponsor a warship on the gulf coast will christen the destroyer escort vessel USS O'Flaherty at Orange Dec 14, the navy announced today. Sec. of the Navy Knox has designated Ens Lavada M. O'Flaherty, navy nurse corps, as sponsor for the vessel which is named in honor of her brother, the late Ens. Frank Woodrow O'Flaherty, USNR, Kansas, Mo. Ens. O'Flaherty, holder of the Navy Cross, lost his life in the battle of Midway. Miss O'Flaherty is now stationed at the navy base hospital in Norman, Ok.
[bio compiled and news articles transcribed by G47]

Gravesite Details Entered the service from Nevada.

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  • Maintained by: G47
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56127242
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ens Frank Woodrow O'Flaherty (26 Feb 1918–15 Jun 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56127242, citing Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by G47 (contributor 47281148) .