MAURICE J O'CALLAGHAN - PFC
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- December 27, 1946
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- April 21, 1967
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Maurice Joseph O'Callaghan was born on December 27, 1946, in Dublin, Ireland. His home of record is Iselin, NJ. When he was nine, his family immigrated to a ranch in Lake City, KS. From there, they moved to Staten Island, NY, where his father was a clothing designer, and from there, to Linden, NJ in 1957. There he spent his final years and graduated from John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in 1966.
He loved animals, especially his longhaired German Shepard named Hercules or "Herc", for short. He volunteered at the Metuchen Veterinarian Hospital and spent most of his time there. Almost everyday, Maurice would zip out of school to go straight to the animal facility. It was his intention to attend college to become a veterinarian.
He loved the Jersey shore and enjoyed swimming. He was a lifeguard in Sea Bright. He met his girlfriend, and soon to be fiancée, Arlene Merchant, in 1965, in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
When not at school or at the veterinarian clinic, he spent a great deal of time weight lifting, playing his guitar, and driving and caring for his prized 1965 red convertible Mustang. He loved practical jokes, regardless if he was the culprit or recipient. He was fond of Broadway plays, drive-in movies and the song, "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones. He loved being in, and surrounded by, nature and the outdoors. As a child, he was a devoted Boy Scout and when he got older, he became a Life Scout.
Maurice enlisted in the US Marines prior to high school graduation. In July of 1966, he left for boot camp in Parris Island, SC. He graduated from the US Marine Corps Recruiting Depot on August 24, 1966, as part of the First Recruiting Battalion, Platoon 1015. He was then sent to Camp LeJeune, NC. After a short break, he was sent to Camp Pendleton, CA. He spent Thanksgiving with his aunt, Ivy Gallagher, who lived in Orange, CA. He left for Vietnam just before Christmas and arrived on New Years. He served for approximately six months before his death. Maurice attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC).
O'Callaghan was killed in action on April 21, 1967, in Danang, Vietnam, while part of a search and destroy mission. The area was known to be dangerous and the small battalion was overcome by enemy soldiers. O'Callaghan was serving as the battalion's radio operator. He radioed for help but was told that it was too dangerous for any help to come before morning. By the time the rescue squad arrived, it was too late. O'Callaghan was killed by a sniper bullet to the leg.
Sources: John F. Kennedy Memorial High School and NJVVMF.
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