FRAMINGHAM – The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Medal of Liberty was presented to the family of 2nd Lieutenant Herbert John Flaherty, Jr. on Friday, November 11, 2022, during the City of Framingham’s Veterans Day ceremony.
In total 10 medals of Liberty were awarded on Veterans Day in Nevins Hall in the Memorial Building, with five of the Gold Star families in attendance.
Flaherty resided in Framingham on Hartford Street when he was entered into the United States Army Air Corps. 2nd Lieutenant Flaherty was a fighter pilot attached to the 43rd Fighter Squadron, 16th Fighter Group, U. S. Army Air Force in the Canal Zone.
On November 27, 1944, while on a routine mission with his flight, he became separated from them when they entered an overcast. Flaherty radioed his flight commander that he was lost. He received instructions from his flight commander as what to do. When the flight finally broke out of the overcast, Flaherty’s plane was nowhere in sight. The flight immediately circled and searched the area while the flight commander radioed the field that the plane was lost.
Search flights patrolled the area thoroughly with negative results until December 6, 1944, when the search was officially abandoned.
Information obtained from an investigation surrounding his disappearance indicate the possibility that he survived a crash landing by parachuting out of his place, where he could have utilized the devices at his disposal, within the limitations of injuries he may have sustained. Which would ultimately lead to his discovery by inhabitants of the area or by searching parties. Considering the general nature and topographical characteristics of the area in which he was reported missing, 30 days is the maximum period he would remain undiscovered or have survived unaided.
2nd Lieutenant Flaherty gave the ultimate sacrifice on November 27, 1944 and was presumed dead on December 27, 1944.
Accepting the Medal on behalf of 2nd Lieutenant Herbert John Flaherty, Jr. is his great nephew, James Frohock, from Rutland.