Thomas Meehan III
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|Thomas Meehan III|
July 8, 1921|
|Died||June 6, 1944†
(aged 22) |
|Place of burial||Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1941-1944|
|Unit||Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division|
-Barrie Meehan Meller (daughter)
First Lieutenant Thomas Meehan III (July 8, 1921 – June 6, 1944) was a commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II. He was killed on "D-Day" when the aircraft he was aboard was shot down by ground fire.
He enjoyed drawing and painting as a hobby. After graduating from Germantown High School in 1939, he completed two years at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art to become a commercial artist, but the war intervened before graduation. Meehan enlisted in his hometown of Philadelphia Pennsylvania on March 16, 1941.
After serving in Company "B" (Baker) after arriving in the United Kingdom, Meehan transferred to Company "E" (Easy) to replace Captain Herbert Sobel, who had been transferred to command a parachute training school for non-combat officers.
Before takeoff, Meehan wrote a letter and handed it out the door of the C-47 to be sent to his wife:
- June 5th, 1944
In a few hours I'm going to take the best company of men in the world into France. We'll give the bastards hell. Strangely, I'm not particularly scared. But in my heart is a terrific longing to hold you in my arms.
I love you Sweetheart – forever.
Lt Meehan and the 16 members of Easy Company's HQ Section flew to Normandy aboard a C-47 Skytrain of the 439th Troop Carrier Command, one of thirty-six forming Serial 12 of Mission Albany, and was headed for Drop Zone C (1 mile West of Sainte Marie-du-Mont).
The aircraft was hit by German anti-aircraft fire. An eyewitness in another aircraft said "the plane left the formation and slowly initiated a right turn. I followed it with my eyes and noticed its landing lights coming on, I thought it was going to be all right. Then, suddenly, it came crashing down [into] a hedgerow and instantly exploded." The plane crashed near the village of Beuzeville-au-Plain (approximately 2 miles northeast of the town of Sainte-Mère-Église), killing the crew and the paratroopers aboard, including Company "E"'s entire company headquarters group. The wreckage of the plane wasn't confirmed found until the early 1950s; until that time he and all the men on the plane were declared missing in action. A memorial was later erected near the site.
Meehan's remains were returned to the United States in 1952 and are now buried at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery (Plot 84 25) at mass grave area on Circle Drive, just south of St. Louis, Missouri. He shares a grave site with the C-47 aircrew and fellow paratroopers of that flight.
On June 6, 2000, a memorial was dedicated in the Beuzeville-au-Plain church to Meehan and the other men that were killed when the plane was shot down.
Medals and Decorations
|Combat Infantry Badge|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 2 service stars|
|American Campaign Medal|
|French Liberation Medal|
|Croix de guerre with palm|
- DeAngelis, Frank. "Meehan's shadowbox". Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- Meller, Barrie Meehan. "1LT Thomas Meehan III". American World War II Orphans Network. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- Ambrose 1992, p. 66
- "Letters and Artwork by Thomas Meehan" from Currahee website
- Currahee Memorial Personal Remembrance - 1st Lt Thomas Meehan III
- Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery - Surnames M - St. Louis, Missouri
- 101st Airborne WW2 website (Scroll half way down the page)
- Ambrose, Stephen E. (1992). Band of Brothers: Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7434-6411-6.
- http://www.506infantry.org/his2ndbnwwiimemo01.html Has picture of crash site.
- http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=19056306&PIpi=27643984 picture of crash site.
- location of crash site