Sep 16, 2018

Butch O'Hare - Fast Eddie -O'Hare Airport

Edward Henry O’Hare
Butch O'Hare.jpg
LT Edward Butch O'Hare in a Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat The wartime censor has blanked out the famous "Felix the Cat" squadron insignia on this photo (colorized photo version).
BornMarch 13, 1914
St. Louis, Missouri
DiedNovember 26, 1943 (aged 29)
Near the Gilbert Islands 
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy Seal US Navy
Years of service1937-1943
RankLieutenant Commander
Commands heldFighting 3 (VF-3), Air Group 6
AwardsMedal of Honor
Navy Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Purple Heart

O'Hare Airport was named for Medal of Honor Winner Butch O'Hare 

Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Edward Joseph O'Hare and Selma O'Hare. Butch had two sisters, Patricia and Marilyn. When their parents divorced in 1927, Butch and his sisters stayed with their mother Selma in St. Louis while their father Edward moved to Chicago. Butch's father was a lawyer who worked closely with Al Capone before turning against him and helping convict Capone of tax evasion.[4]

Butch O'Hare graduated from the Western Military Academy in 1932. The following year, he went on to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Graduated and appointed an Ensign on June 3, 1937, he served two years on board the battleship USS New Mexico (BB-40). In 1939, he started flight training at NAS Pensacola in Florida, learning the basics on Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-1 "Yellow Peril" and Stearman NS-1 biplane trainers, and later on the advanced SNJ trainer. On the nimble Boeing F4B-4A, he trained in aerobatics as well as aerial gunnery. He also flew the SBU Corsair and the TBD Devastator.[5]

In November 1939, his father was shot to death, most likely by Al Capone's gunmen. During Capone's tax evasion trial in 1931 and 1932, O'Hare's father had provided incriminating evidence which helped finally put Capone away. There is speculation that this was done to ensure that Butch got into the Naval Academy, or to set a good example. Whatever the motivation, the elder O'Hare was shot down in his car, a week before Capone was released from incarceration.


Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare (March 13, 1914 – November 26, 1943) was an Irish-American naval aviator of the United States Navy, who on February 20, 1942 became the Navy's first flying ace when he single-handedly attacked a formation of 9 heavy bombers approaching his aircraft carrier. Even though he had a limited amount of ammunition, he managed to shoot down or damage several enemy bombers. On April 21, 1942, he became the first naval recipient of the Medal of Honor in World War II.

O’Hare’s final action took place on the night of November 26, 1943, while he was leading the U.S. Navy’s first-ever nighttime fighter attack launched from an aircraft carrier. During this encounter with a group of Japanese torpedo bombers, O'Hare's F6F Hellcat was shot down; his aircraft was never found. In 1945, the U.S. Navy destroyer USS O'Hare (DD-889) was named in his honor.

Thanks to Charles Van liere for reminding us of this story on

The full story on Wikapedia

  1. Edward O'Hare - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia'Hare

    Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O'Hare (March 13, 1914 – November 26, 1943) was an Irish-American naval aviator of the United States Navy,  ...

  2. Eddie O'Hare and Son › Home › Glurge Gallery
    Feb 1, 2005 - Claim: Notorious mob lawyer "Easy Eddie" O'Hare teaches his son Butch the value of honesty and integrity; the son goes on to become a  ...

  3. Butch and Eddie O'Hare-Truth! - Truth or Fiction

    Jun 20, 2001 - Butch O'Hare, the war hero after whom Chicago's O'Hare airport is named, was the son of mob lawyer Eddie O'Hare. The email tells the story of ...

  4. The Story Behind Butch O'Hare › read and think

    My thanks to Dan for informing me of the truth of Butch O'Hare, and my apologies to all who were misinformed by the lack of this paragraph before February, ...

  5. Butch O'Hare - Chicago Tribune

    Chicago Tribune
    As World War II fades to sepia, so does the public memory of Edward "ButchO'Hare. For the millions of travelers who pass through every year, O'Hare ...

  6. The Butch O'Hare Story - St. Louis Magazine - July 2005 - St. Louis ... › St. Louis Magazine › July 2005

    St. Louis Magazine
    The Butch O'Hare Story. The namesake of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport never lived in Chicago—he was born and raised in St. Louis. Butch's father ...

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