DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Opinion

March 28, 2013

Column: Derry’s ‘Fighting Gradys’ gave their all to the war effort

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Pvt. Robert W. Grady, age 27, enlisted in Manchester in October, 1942. His military career was cut short by injury and was given an honorable discharge for medical reasons around 1944.

Capt. Ruth Grady enlisted in the WACs in January 1943. She remained in the Army until the end of the war in 1945. During that time, she served in many American bases. For the last year of the war she was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. There she served as executive officer at the base’s Airborne School — the Army’s leading parachute training center.

Lt. Paul G. Grady was in his third year at Boston University Law School when the war’s drums sounded. He was inducted in March 1942 and was soon sent to the Pacific theater of conflict. While in New Zealand, he became engaged to a local woman. Before they could be married, he was killed in action in Luzon in the Philippines on Jan. 17, 1945. He is buried at the military cemetery in Manila.

After graduating from Pinkerton Academy, Staff Sgt. Thomas Grady spent three years studying art in schools in Boston and New York City with the plans to be a theatrical set designer. He entered the Army in March 1942 and was trained in a gunnery school. Within months he was sent across the Pacific to serve as a turret gunner on B-24s. As a member of the Army’s storied 10th Air Force, he flew missions over India, Burma and China. During the war he logged 48 missions over enemy territory — each flight averaging 9 hours. In total, his combat flight time totaled 426 hours and 20 minutes. For his service, he was awarded the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

In a 1945 interview to the Manchester Union Leader, Sgt. Thomas Grady recalled that “I’ll never forget the first time I saw Jap Zero planes in action. I was surprised that I was not scared. It all seemed like a game. But when I began to see ships of my own squadron shot down, I really did get scared — for then we knew all too well that it was not a game; it was bitter, vicious warfare.”

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