While doing research on the 99 honorees of the Richard M. Kemper Park, it became sadly obvious that, for some reason, names that should have been on the monument weren’t. One of these names was that of Lt. James Allen “Bud” Callaghan. Callaghan served in the 871st Bomber Squadron, 497th Bomber Group, Very Heavy. On December 18, 1944, he was the bombardier/navigator on the Dixie Darlin, a B-29 that had been sent from Isley Field, Saipan, to bomb the Mitsubishi aircraft plant in Nagoya, Japan. On its way there, the Dixie Darlin experienced mechanical problems and the plane turned back to Saipan. At the time they were approximately 100 miles west of Iwo Jima. If the airfield at Iwo Jima had been open, chances are they would have been able to land safely. As it was, they never made it back. (The invasion of Iwo Jima began on February 19, 1945, and the island was not declared secure until March 26, 1945.) Callaghan was declared “Missing in Action” on December 18, 1944, and declared officially dead one year later, on December 19, 1945. Callaghan’s body was never recovered and he is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii and at Arlington Cemetery. 

Callaghan grew up at 199 Larchmont Avenue in the Village of Larchmont. He had an older sister, Louise, and two younger sisters, Jane and Helen. Callaghan graduated from Iona Prep in 1938. His classmates included Monsignor Harry Byrne, brother of Larchmont resident, Bill Bryne, and James Colbert, father of comedian Stephen Colbert.  In September of 1942, he enlisted in the Army. On his enlistment record, he cites that he is single, with dependents. His father, a broker according to the 1930 census, had died from a heart attack at Grand Central Station around 1938-39 and one can only surmise that “Bud” had taken on the responsibility of his mother, Mary, and his younger sisters.

In 2006, the Callaghan family requested that the name of James Allen Callaghan be added to our local war memorials, including the monument at Richard M. Kemper Park. We are honored to be able to fulfill that request.


                                (Lt. Callaghan is in the back row, on the far right.)