O’REILLY, LELAND STANFORD, JR., Second Lieutenant, # 0-533758, USAAF
Leland “Lee” S. O’Reilly Jr. was born on 4 November 1921 in Charleston, Mississippi Co., Missouri, to Leland Stanford O’Reilly (1896-1966) and Elsie E. (Voelker) O’Reilly (1902-1991) (married 14 November 1920 in East Prairie, Mississippi Co., Missouri). Siblings included George Walsh O’Reilly (1923-1924). Living in Charleston, Missouri, on 5 June 1917, 21 years old, and single, his father said his work was an auto mechanic for the Stricker Auto Co. when he registered for the WW I draft. Living at 411 West Commercial St., Charleston, Missouri, in 1942, his father registered for the WW II draft, giving his birth date as 8 February 1896 in Oakton, Kentucky, and described himself as 5’10”, 190 lbs, with black hair and brown eyes. His father was self-employed. In 1920 his father was 23 years old, single, and lived with his parents and three siblings in Tywappity, Mississippi Co., Missouri.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard and completed basic training at Brady, Texas, and spent a year at Camp Robinson. He was selected for flight training in the USAAF and completed basic flight school at Muskogee, Oklahoma, then advanced instruction at Lubbock, Texas. He was rated for multi-engine aircraft. He earned his commission and pilot wings. After a too-brief leave at home, he was sent overseas to India. On 1 September 1944, a C-47, # 43-15802, assigned to 10th Air Force, 3rd Combat Cargo Group, 11th Combat Cargo Squadron, departed the airfield at Dinjan, India, on a food supply drop mission in Burma, to return to Dinjan airfield. It was last contacted by radio 30 minutes from Dinjan airfield. Its crash was deemed a battle casualty. The 11th Combat Cargo Squadron, had no information to add to the MACR and 1352nd AAF Base Unit had none. The crash location was not found. Searches along the flight route saw several aircraft wrecks that were not identifiable from the air. Extensive search failed to locate the C-47A. Search and rescue aircraft flew the probable routes and adjacent areas for ten months to no avail. The Burmese natives of the area are extremely cooperative and no report has been received from them. The family placed a memorial marker in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery, Charleston, Missouri. He was awarded the Purple Heart.