When he was 17 years old, Charles J. O'Neill enlisted into the Army on February 13, 1941. "Pete" as he was known to family and friends, hailed from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After completing his basics, Private O'Neill was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone in 1941. Private O'Neill remained in Panama, through all of 1942 and on April 7, 1943 he returned home to the United States. Back on American soil, Charles volunteered for the paratroops and during August of 1943 he spent four weeks at Fort Benning, Georgia, earning his jump wings. Early in February 1944 while stationed at Fort George Meade, Maryland, Private O'Neill was again assigned overseas. This time he would sail to a replacement depot in England for Airborne paratroopers. (see document below). He left for the European Theatre of war on February 10th 1944. By the end of March, 1944 he was serving with the 456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, Battery B, 82nd Airborne Division.
According to family, Private O'Neill served in three campaigns, Normandy, Holland and the Battle of the Bulge. His grandson said Private O'Neill also earned the Purple Heart medal.
In late February, 1945, Private O'Neill was transferred into the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Headquarters Company. He earned his Combat Infantrymen's Badge fighting in the 505-PIR's last campaign of the war, the Elbe river crossing, at Blekede Germany.
At wars' end, Private O'Neill had an ASR score of 95 points, well over the 85 points needed to return home to the United States. He was honorably discharged January 8th 1946 from Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington D.C.
Private Charles "Pete" O'Neill while he was stationed in England 1944.
2nd Battalion's Headquarters Company England, 1944. Private O'Neill is in the last row, 5 paratroopers in from the left side. (White tee shirt showing)
Post card Pete sent home in 1941. Boeing's XB-15 4 engine bombers flying over New York City and the East River.
A 1940 post card Pete sent home........................"Please, don't forget to write".
A letter to Pete's loved one from the Panama Canal Zone .
This letter was written while Pete was in jump school, August 1943.
Part two of the letter above.
Pete is in jump school at Fort Benning in August of 1943.
He departed for England on February 10th 1944, assigned to Field Artillery Parachute Battery A,
likely a replacement depot for Airborne Field Artillery units. The APO was 15152 which was in England.
From the replacement depot, he was assigned to the 456 Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, B Battery.