Thomas Meehan III

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Thomas Meehan III
Meehan506e.jpg
Born (1921-07-08)July 8, 1921
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died June 6, 1944(1944-06-06) (aged 22) 
Normandy, France
Place of burial Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of War.png United States Army
Years of service 1941-1944
Rank US-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant
Unit Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards
Relations -Anne (wife)
-Barrie Meehan Meller (daughter)
Other work Artist

First Lieutenant Thomas Meehan III (July 8, 1921 – June 6, 1944)[2] 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.

Meehan was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Jason O'Mara.

Youth[edit]

He enjoyed drawing and painting as a hobby.[2] 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.[2] Meehan enlisted in his hometown of Philadelphia Pennsylvania on March 16, 1941.[2]

Military service[edit]

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

Dearest Anne:

  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.

Your
Tom[3][4]

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.

A
D Day Memorial – Lt Meehan's Stick

Interment[edit]

Meehan's remains were returned to the United States in 1952[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

Medals and Decorations[edit]

US Army Airborne basic parachutist badge.gif Parachutist Badge
CombatInfantry.png Combat Infantry Badge
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 2 service stars
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
French Liberation Medal
Croix de guerre with palm

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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. 

External links[edit]