Chester L. Gearty

Chester L. GeartyBadge-gunner
Sergeant, USAAF

Gearty-portraitPhoto by Paul Gearty

Army Serial Number 31429205
MOS code 612 (Airplane Armorer – Gunner) [1]

Born in 1925 in Malden, Massachusetts and died at the age of 18.
In 1944 the Gearty family lived at 122 Grove Avenue, Wilmington, Massachusetts.
Chester attended the Wilmington schools and was a graduate of the Keith Academy in Lowell [2], where he was an outstanding quarterback of the football team. He received a diploma in absentia when he was already at war [3].
He had been enlisted on 19 January 1944 at Fort Devens, Massachusetts and entered service in June of the same year. He had his training at the Harlingen Army Airfield, Texas [4], a specialized center for aerial gunners.
Chester had been initially assigned to the 460th Bombardment Group.
He was sent to MTO (Mediterranean Theatre of Operations) in August 1944. His air ferry route to cross the Atlantic Ocean started from the RCAF Gander Airbase, Newfoundland, Canada; he had a stop at Lajes Field, Azores Islands, then at Marrakesh Airport, Morocco to transit through Gioia del Colle, Italy and reach Spinazzola airfield, where the base of 460th BG was set. From there he flew several bombing missions over Poland, Hungary and Italy.
He was officially assigned to the 885th Bombardment Squadron on September 11, 1944 [5] and he moved to Maison Blanche, Algeria where he started Special Duties. His first special mission is recorded on 23 September 1944 [6].
He then moved to Brindisi, Italy on 2 October 1944.
On 16 October Chester was on his twenty-fourth combat mission [7].
He received the Purple Heart Medal and was also awarded the Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster [8].

[1] Military Occupational Specialty code.
[2] The Lowell Sun, 6 November 1944, p. 4.
[3] The Lowell Sun, 5 October 1944, p. 4.
[4] The Lowell Sun, 6 November 1944, p. 4.
[5] MacCloskey (1945), Transfers of Personnel Report, September 1944, p. 2.
[6] Additional information from family private papers have been kindly supplied by Paul K. Gearty, USA, brother of Chester.
[7] The Lowell Sun, 23 November 1949, p. 3.
[8] The Lowell Sun, 14 December 1944, p. 27.