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Ronald O'Neal
World War 2, 4th Combat Cameraman

Ronald O'Neal, World War 2, 4th Combat Cameraman

Adding a dedication page to the site is a good thing.  We are losing WW2 vets at a startling pace.  Whatever we can do to honor them is worth the effort.

Dad was veteran of WW1. He enlisted when he was 18. He never went overseas.  He was a cook in a cavalry outfit. He enlisted in the USAAF in September of 1942 and went overseas in April of 1943. He was injured sometime in 1944.  I'm not clear yet on when this happened and when he returned to the states.  I know from his diary that he was involved in preparing for and filming the Normandy invasion starting in early 1944. His diary is sketchy in '44 because they had to lock away personal diaries.

I have tried to get his records at National Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Blvd, St. Louis MO 63132 . Got the reply: "Destroyed in fire."  They did send a few WW1 medical records, nothing significant.

I don't have many stories about him. I remember my mother talking about him sending home for cowboy boots during the war. Apparently using the pointed toe points allowed him to hang upside down from the bomb bay railing and get an unobstructed view of the bomb drop. I know nothing the old military aircraft interiors, so I'm not sure if this was even feasible. It made a good story though.

I'd like have people see them and maybe recognize a family member than have them locked away in drawer. You can see the crew pictures at :

Was "Sarah E" was part of the 322nd?  I had that as a possibility before finding this photo. When you look at the crew photos, you'll see Bugs Bunny with an eight ball on a couple of them. It's my understanding that they were part of 303rd (Hell's Angels). I had an uncle in that outfit, a quartermaster. When you look at the Combat Camera Unit photo, you'll see a Robert O'Neal. He was a cousin. My dad's nephew (his brother's boy). He was a cameraman also. He got an elbow shot off while manning a waist gun. Spent a lot of time in VA hospitals rebuilding his arm and hand functions. My brother (an aircraft mechanic) was in Africa, Sicily, and Italy during WW2. He was with several different air forces, 12, 14, and 15 if my memory serves me well. Anyway the family was well represented.

A link to some First Motion Picture Units (FMPU) web sites:

In Sept of '43, I turned seven years old. My dad, being overseas and unable to celebrate at home, threw a birthday party for 60 boys in an orphanage.  He selected seven boys to honor, but all 60 boys got cake, candy bars, etc. They also got to see a movie.

The orphanage was St. Joseph School, Bigods Hall, Bigods Ln, Dunmow, Essex CM6 3BE, UK. It was run by Catholic nuns. I've spoken to folks in England and no one has knowledge of this orphanage. I donated a copy of photographic diary my dad put together for the occasion to a historic group in England, the name of the group escapes me at the moment. The children supposedly were made orphans by the bombing in London.

Ronald O'Neal on right

Ronald O'Neal took this picture of the "Sarah E" crew

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