Staff Sergeant James Paul Naughton, Army serial number 19165833, was born at Browning, Glacier County, Montana on February 4, 1924. He was the youngest of six children of Richard Matthew Naughton (17 Feb 1884 – 9 Apr 1934) and Johanna R. (Ryan) Naughton (21 Nov 1889 – 29 Nov 1977), who were born in Missouri. His parents married about 1910, and by 1918 lived at Gilman, Lewis and Clark County, Montana, where his father worked as a 'ditch rider' for the Reclamation Service of the U.S. Government. In 1930 the family lived near Cascade, Cascade County, Montana (close to Great Falls, Montana), and his father worked as a road construction contractor.
His father died in 1934. By 1935 the family lived on County Road in New Deal, Valley County, Montana (near Fort Peck), and his mother was proprietor of a retail grocery. In 1942 he graduated from high school at Fort Peck, Montana, and moved with his family to Hermiston, Umatilla County, Oregon. During Summer 1942 he lived in Edgemont, Fall River County, South Dakota, and worked for J. A. Tertling and Sons Construction Company. This company was a major provider on massive earth moving projects throughout the United States, including roads, dams, bridges, canals, and railroads.
He registered for the draft at Fall River, South Dakota on June 30, 1942. He was 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed 160 pounds, and had blue eyes and black hair. He worked as a paymaster, payroll clerk, and timekeeper in Umatilla County, Oregon, and was single when he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Pendleton Field, Oregon on December 13, 1942. His home of record was Hermiston, Oregon.
His wife was Barbara Lucile (Connor) Naughton (later Sawalish) (11 Jan 1925 – 3 Mar 2006). They married at Hermiston, Oregon on January 9, 1943. He entered active duty in February 1943. James and Barbara Naughton had a son, James Leslie 'Jim' Naughton (1943 – ).
He completed Army Air Forces aerial gunnery training was assigned as tail gunner on the heavy bomber crew of Lt William J. Waldron. The Waldron crew completed B-17 operational training at Ardmore, Oklahoma, and was assigned to the 836th Bomb Squadron, 487th Bomb Group, at Army Air Forces Station 137 near Lavenham, Suffolk, England. The crew arrived in England by October 19, 1944, and became part of the 8th U.S. Army Air Force in Europe. Here is Lt Waldron's crew roster on December 24, 1944:
B-17G 43-38926 – 836th Bomb Squadron
• Waldron, William J – 2/Lt – Pilot – Safe
• Eshleman, Oscar F – 2/Lt – Copilot – KIA
• Shuster, Joseph S – F/O – Navigator – KIA
• Neu, Russell C – 2/Lt – Bombardier – Safe
• Andrew, Benedict A – S/Sgt – Engineer – KIA
• Ferenchak, George J – S/Sgt – Radio operator – KIA
• Baganz, Reuben F – S/Sgt – Ball turret gunner – KIA
• Isley, Eugene S – S/Sgt – Waist gunner – Safe
• Naughton, James P – S/Sgt – Tail gunner – KIA
S/Sgt Naughton and five of his crewmates were killed in action on December 24, 1944, when their aircraft, B-17G 43-38926, was shot down by German fighters south of Liege, Belgium. Three men were blown clear and survived when the aircraft exploded in the air. The B-17 crashed at Rouvreux, near Sprimont, Belgium, about 15 miles south of Liege.
Lt Eshleman, F/O Shuster, and S/Sgt Ferenchak are buried at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium; S/Sgt Andrew is buried at Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Maryland; and S/Sgt Baganz is buried at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.
S/Sgt Naughton's remains were returned to the United States and interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Great Falls, Montana on November 13, 1947. He is buried in the Military Section, Plot 33. His parents and an older brother, Richard T. Naughton (9 Jul 1914 – 9 Nov 1972), are buried in the same cemetery.
1. 487th Bomb Group Association
2. 1930 US Census; Montana; Cascade County; Cascade Town. Naughton, Richard M [sic]. 16 Apr 1930 (his father)
3. 1940 US Census; Montana; Valley County; New Deal; County Road. Naughton, Johanna R. 27 Apr 1940 (his mother)
4. American Battle Monuments Commission
5. Cemetery records of Mount Olivet Cemetery, Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana
6. de Jong, Ivo. The History of the 487th Bomb Group (H). Paducah KY: Turner Publishing, Oct 2004
7. Enlistment Record of James P. Naughton
8. Great Falls Tribune. Obituary of James P. Naughton. Great Falls MT, 9 Nov 1947
9. Montana Death Index, 1860–2007. Richard Naugton, male, age 50, died on 9 Apr 1934. (his father)
10. Montana Birth Records, 1897–1988 (ancestry.com): James Paul Naughton was born at Browning, Glacier County, Montana on 4 Feb 1924; parents: Richard Matthew Naughton and Johanna R. Naughton.
11. Naughton, Robert L. Personal communication. Nov–Dec 2011 (a grandson of James P. Naughton)
12. Obituaries of James P. Naughton in the Hermiston Herald, Umatilla County, Oregon (vol 38, no. 38, 3 May 1945; and vol 41, no. 12, 30 Oct 1947)
13. Oregon marriage record of James P. Naughton and Barbara Lucile Connor: married at Hermiston, Oregon on 9 Jan 1943
14. U.S. Army Air Forces Missing Air Crew Report 11675
15. U.S. Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925–1963 (ancestry.com)
16. U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939–1945
17. U.S. School Yearbooks, 1900–1999 (ancestry.com): The Dinosaur [yearbook]. Fort Peck MT: Fort Peck High School, 1939 (his freshman year)
18. U.S. War Department. World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel. Washington, D.C., June 1946
19. U.S. World War II Draft Cards, Young Men, 1940–1947 (ancestry.com)
20. Western States Equipment Company, Meridian, Idaho: About Us
21. World War I Draft Registration of Richard Matthew Naughton. 12 Sep 1918 (his father)
Secretary, 487th Bomb Group Association
Find A Grave member ID 47577572
STAFF SGT AIR CORPS
WORLD WAR II
FEBRUARY 4 1924
DECEMBER 24 1944
Barbara L. Sawalish
1925–2006 (m. 1943)
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