John J. Flynn Jr.

  • Staff Sergeant
  • WW II


John Joseph Flynn Jr. was born on 10 April 1923 in West Warwick, Rhode Island. He was the oldest child of John Joseph Flynn Sr. and Loretta Mae Flynn. He was a 1941 graduate of West Warwick High School, West Warwick, Rhode Island. John was an honor student and active in many activities during high school. He entered Rhode Island State College (RISC) in September 1941 with the class of 1945 majoring in Mechanical Engineering, was a member of Delta Alpha Psi Fraternity and participated in the Army ROTC program. John enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces in 1942 but remained at RISC long enough to complete his sophomore year in the engineering program.

Private John J. Flynn Jr. graduated from the five-week U.S. Army Air Force Basic Training at Keesler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi and the six-week Arial Gunnery School, Harlingen Army Air Field, Harlingen, Texas where he was awarded his “Gunners Wings” upon graduation in January 1944. Private Flynn was assigned to the 405th Bomber Squadron, 38th Bomber Group, 14th Army Air Force, Pacific Theater.

The 405th Bomber Squadron was based in the Philippines with the missions of supporting U.S. Army and Marines on Luzon, bombing industrial facilities on Formosa and attacking shipping along the China Coast. SSgt. Flynn received the Air Medal with 3 battle stars for courageous service from November 1944 to February 1945. The 38th had completed a successful bombing mission over Formosa on 2 June 1945. While returning from the bombing mission, his plane was intercepted by a flight of A6M Japanese Zeros and badly damaged. The pilot was able to land the damaged plane; however, SSgt. Flynn was killed during the air battle.

Staff Sergeant John J. Flynn Jr., U.S. Army Air Forces, was cited for Gallantry in Action and awarded the, Air Medal, Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross. (Posthumously)

                                                                    Citation – Distinguished Flying Cross

The President of the United States of America, authorized by act Congress on July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Staff Sergeant John Joseph Flynn Jr., U.S. Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States while serving as a Mitchell B-25 tail gunner, Pacific Theater, 14th Army Air Forces, 405th Bomber Squadron, 38thBomb Group World War II. Staff Sergeant John J. Flynn Jr., U.S. Army Air Forces heroic and fearless actions in the face of all odds has reflected the highest credit upon himself and the Armed forces of the United States.

Staff Sergeant John Joseph Flynn Jr., U.S. Army Air Forces, was buried with full military honors in St. Peter and Paul’s Cemetery, West Warwick, Rhode Island.

When the University of Rhode Island Memorial Union was dedicated on 13 November 1954, in honor of Alumni and Students who fought for their country and as a living memorial to those who died in its service, the Memorial Union’s Organization Room was dedicated to the memory of Staff Sergeant John Joseph Flynn Jr. by a gift of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Joseph Flynn Sr:

In Remembrance
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die”

Staff Sergeant John Joseph Flynn Jr., U.S. Army Air Forces, was a hero in defeating the Japanese Forces during World War II. He was another son of Rhode Island State College and America who answered the call to duty and gave his life during World War II and was a member of the “Greatest Generation.”