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Lieutenant Brian Flavelle, who grew up in West Caldwell, to be honored

World War II Purple Heart Recipient to be Honored at West Caldwell Reorganization Meeting.


Lieutenant Brian Flavelle, who grew up in West Caldwell, was killed in action on August 1, 1943 while participating in a daring raid “Operation Tidal Wave”, carried out on oil refineries near Ploiesti, Romania. En route to their planned mission, LT Flavelle’s plane, the “Wongo Wongo” developed problems and the plane plunged into the Adriatic Sea, where the entire crew was lost.

Posthumously, LT Flavelle received the Silver Star, Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, Aviator Badge, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and Distinguished Unit Citation.

LT Flavelle’s medals were recently discovered in Seattle and returned to the organization Purple Hearts Reunited for presentation to the Flavelle family.

The Flavelle family will present the medals to West Caldwell’s Mayor Tempesta and Council during the Reorganization meeting on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 10:30 am. The medals will be on permanent public display in the Township’s library.

This mission was the costliest in Air Force history within the European Theater with 53 aircraft and 660 air crewmen lost. It was the second worst loss ever suffered by the Air Force on a single mission and its date was later referred to as "Black Sunday".

At the time of his death, he was married to Dorothea Richards and had a 4-month old son, William, whom he never met.


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