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Honoring Service: Veteran Thomas C. Donahue Jr.

SPECIAL NOTICE: The City of Rye is looking for any and all veterans missing from its veteran monuments. It is the first effort to update the monuments since 1980. Learn more about this project and how to make sure no Rye veteran is forgotten.

Our reporting on local veterans is a collaboration with RyeVets.org to highlight those from Rye who have served our country across times of war and peace. There are over 2,100 veterans from the City of Rye. Learn more about how you can help research and write biographies of those that have served.

Honoring Service - 062023 - Thomas C. Donahue Jr
Thomas C. Donahue Jr

Thomas C. Donahue Jr. was born on May 27th, 1921, to Thomas and Mary Donahue. He grew up in Rye, New York, along with his 10 siblings: Mary, Veronica, Margaret, Doris, Eleanor, Edward, Gloria, William, Vincetta, and Daniel. The family resided at 37 Elm Street and were active members of the Church of the Resurrection. Thomas’ father, a carpenter, owned the house which had a value of $10,000 at the time.

Date of Birth: 5/27/1921
Died On: 10/31/1963
Street Address: 37 Elm Street
Service Number: 32510326
Branch of Service: U.S. Army-WWII

Thomas attended Rye High School and graduated as part of the Class of 1939. Throughout his education, he engaged in several notable activities. He participated in the Drivers’ Club, served as a Junior Coach, co-managed the Football team, and took part in the “Hitching Post” program.

On September 23rd, 1942, Thomas enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Private. He served in the Army Battery D, 553rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Btry D- 553 AAA- AW- BN) during World War II. The AAA AW acronym stands for “Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Automatic Weapons.” These anti-aircraft units were independent battalions, not officially part of any larger formation. They were assigned to higher headquarters, such as a corps or a field army, and often attached to divisions when needed.

The primary anti-aircraft weapon used by the U.S. was the 90mm cannon, designed to target high-flying enemy aircraft. The AAA AW battalions typically mounted their weapons on half-tracks, some equipped with quad-.50 caliber machine guns, twin 20mm automatic cannons, or single barrel 40mm automatic cannons. These weapons were also effective against ground targets, including enemy foot troops and vehicles.

Thomas C. Donahue passed away on October 31st, 1963, at his home in Waverly at the age of 42. He was a former resident of Rye and received his education from the local school system. He was survived by his wife, Patricia Arnold, and four children: Thomas, Patricia Ann, Dawn Marie, and Stephen, all residing in Waverly. Additionally, he had three other children from a previous marriage: Mrs. Susan Hearondon of Vero Beach, Fla., Miss Tony Ann Donahue of Port Chester, and Miss Diane Donahue of Rye. He also had six sisters: Miss Doris Donahue of Rye, Mrs. Allen Meigs of Tannersville, Mrs. James Tartarilla of Larchmont, Mrs. Paul Zeh of North White Plains, and Mrs. Whit Summers of Alexandria, Va., as well as two brothers: William Donahue of Rye and Edward Donahue of Huntington Station.


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