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Name: James Raymond Orechia Rank: Technical Sergeant Service Number: 31133166 Service: 446th Bomb Squadron, 321st Bomb Group 57th Bomb Wing, 12th Air Force, United States Army Air Force Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart Date of Birth: April 24, 1920 Place of Birth: Lincoln, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Date of Enlistment: June 6, 1942 Place of Enlistment: Boston, Massachusetts Age at Enlistment: 22 Address at Enlistment: Providence, Rhode Island Height: 5 feet, 8 inches Complexion: Light Hair color: Blonde Eye color: Blue Occupation: Semi-skilled routeman Marital Status: Married Religion: Protestant Date of Death: May 15, 1944 Age at Death: 24 Cemetery: Walnut Grove Cemetery, Danvers, Essex Co., Mass. Grave: Section B, Brook Path, Single grave #183 James Raymond Orechia was the eldest child of George James Orechia (1898-1972) and Mabel Etta (Withrow) Orechia (1901-1958). He was the brother of twins Walter Morin Orechia (1934–1991) and Arthur George Orechia (born 1934). His mother was born in Shubenacadie, Hants, Nova Scotia. His father was born in Sheet Harbour in Halifax Co., NS. His parents immigrated to the US in 1919 and were married in Massachusetts in 1920. Raymond was raised in Waltham, Middlesex Co. Massachusetts. His father also served the United States in the USAAF during WWII. James registered for the US Draft on July 1, 1941, in Danvers, Mass, where he was working for Frank C. Prentiss at 57 Pine Street in Danvers. Sometime between April 18, 1940, and, June 6, 1942, Raymond married Ann (her maiden name is unknown), and they moved to Providence, Rhode Island. After training as a radio operator and gunner, James was assigned to the 446th Bomb Squadron. He served aboard B-25 Mitchell medium bomber aircraft and was stationed in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). The Radio Operator on the B-25's also served as the waist gunner, in the mid-section of the plane, with a 50- caliber machine gun on each side, left and right. On January 24, 1944, James was promoted from Corporal to Technical Sergeant. In April 1944, James was awarded the Air Medal. The Air Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Armed Forces of the United States, shall have distinguished himself/herself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. In April 1944, the 321st Bombardment Group transferred to its new base at Solenzara, Corsica, from its previous base at Vincenzo Airfield near Naples, Italy in April as well. This same month, James was given leave and travelled to the Isle of Capri Rest Camp for approximately 10 days and returned on April 25, 1944. James Raymond Orechia completed 57 known Missions. By May 14, 1944, James had completed his ‘required’ missions, and was awaiting the paperwork for his release and transfer back to the United States. According to the family, he insisted on going on one more mission. His final mission was on May 15, 1944. The target was the Orvieto Station railroad bridge. 8 aircraft of 446th Bomber Squadron were to participate. Two other bombers captained by Lt. Morris and Lt. Moss led the formation in their aircraft. The first flight reported direct hits on the center and both approaches of the bridge. The second flight reported direct hits in the commercial harbor area and on two boats. The flak was heavy, intense, and accurate. James’ bomber No. 42-32429 (known as ‘Flamingo’) captained by Lt. Walsh, crash-landed at the home base. Upon hitting the runway, the plane exploded and burned, due to the fact that it was saturated with gasoline from leaking fuel lines. Lt. Walsh was thrown clear of the plane but died in the hospital from burns received. The other crew members could not be rescued, and all perished in the burning bomber including James. The other crew who died were: First Lieutenant Geore F. Walsh (Pilot) Second Lieutenant Roy N. Lee (Co-Pilot) Second Lieutenant Harry Bradway Wilcox, Jr. (Bombardier) Staff Sergeant Lawrence Shellhamer, Staff Sergeant Edward P. Thornton Raymond's remains were brought back to the United States, and he was buried on November 18, 1948, at the Walnut Grove Cemetery, in Danvers, Essex Co. Massachusetts, in Section B, Brook Path, single grave #183. The arrangements were handled by the Crosby Funeral Home.
James Raymond Orechia
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