"Tribute To True Heroes"




junoak.jpg

.

rosedew
Requiescat in pace!

rosedew
May they rest in peace!



.
.
U.S. Army
.







James Walter O'Brien
1912-1944


Silver Star
Medal

.
.
Corps
.









Purple Heart
Medal

Prisoner Of  War
Med
















Combat Action

Ribbon

American Defense
Medal

American Campaign
Medal

Asisatic-Pacific
Campaign Medal

World War II
Victory Medal










Philippine Presidential
UnitCitation Ribbon

Philippine
Defense Medal

Philippine
Independence Medal



Biography taken from
"CHAPLAIN PRISONER OF WAR IN THE PACIFIC 1941-1945"
.
USAF CHAPLAIN SERVICE INSTITUTE
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
1993

The Reverend Father
James Walter O'Brien
Roman Catholic
Born: April 21, 1912
Died: October 24, 1944....................
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
Oakland, California
In sinking of Arisan Maru

James O'Brien was educated at St. Joseph's Parochial School in Alameda, 
California, and at St. Joseph's College in Mountain View, California. Between 
1932 and 1938 he attended St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California. 
He was tonsured in 1934. He was ordained at St. Mary's Cathedral by the 
Most Reverend John J. Mitty for the San Francisco Diocese on April 2, 1938. 
He was assigned to Five Wounds Parish, San Jose, California, as assistant 
pastor between April 21, 1938, and May 7, 1941.

Because of his small stature (less than five feet, six inches), he had been 
rejected by the U.S. Navy Chaplaincy.  The Army, however, accepted him 
and commissioned him as a chaplain in the 3rd Coast Artillery at Fort 
MacArthur in California.  He was sent to the Philippines on July 14, 1941, 
where he was assigned as an assistant base chaplain at Nichols Field, 
Philippines. As the first resident Catholic chaplain at Nichols, one of his early
projects was to organize a Holy Name Society.

His quarters at Nichols were destroyed on the first day of the war (December 
8, 1941), but he bedded down in a thicket near the base and spent every 
davlight hour ministering to the needs of the men.  After American forces 
withdrew from Manila around Christmas 1941, he became an assistant 
regimental chaplain for the Provisional Air Corps on Bataan. By 
commandeering an abandoned jeep, be also did his best to reach and serve all 
the units stationed in the Eastern Sector of II Corps.  He made the grueling 
Death March which followed the surrender on Bataan, ministering along the 
way to the battle-weary and ill-fed men struggled along the roadway toward 
imprisonment.

Following a period of internment at Camp O'Donnell, he was moved to 
Cabanatuan in June 1942.  There, he continued to hear confessions and say 
Mass when not joining in the'back-breaking labor of the camp work details.

He was among the 1,800 prisoners who sailed from Manila for Japan aboard 
the Arisan Maru.  The unmarked ship was sunk by American submarines in 
the China Sea on October 24, 1944.  Eight men survived the open-sea disaster 
by clinging for days to floating debris. One of the eight tells of how Chaplain
O'Brien prayed with and granted absolution to the Catholic men until the ship 
was completely submerged. 

For his outstanding bravery, Chaplain James Walter O'Brien was posthumously
awarded the Silver Star.





Family Members
of Reverend Father O'Brien.
John and Annie O'Brien
Parents (Deceased)



John O'Brien
Brother (Deceased) 
Margaret Kettleman
Sister (Deceased)
Constance Henneberry
Sister (Deceased)

.


Steven Henneberry
Nephew
Bridget O'Connell
Niece
Margaret Dorff
Niece
Ellen Brock
Niece
Michael Henneberry
Nephew







This Web Page was created by and
is maintained by Paul D. Henriott
last updated 20 March 2006