Decatur County

AV MM3/C Chester Clifton McGahuey




Chester Clifton McGahuey, born in Decatur County, Iowa Aug. 22, 1922. He enlisted Sept. 29. 1942 at Davenport, Iowa. He received his boot training at U. S. Naval Training Station in San Diego, Calif. He graduated from Aviation Machinist Mae school April 10, 1943 from Norman, Okla. Graduated from Naval Air Gunner’s School May 13, 1943 at Purcell, Okla. completed his flight training and plane captain at Oakland, Calif. Other bases were Alemeda, Calif. Long Beach, Calif, San Diego, Calif. In shore patrol and convoy duty in South West Pacific.

He was reported missing in action – plane and crew from night flight Oct. 29, 1943. His next of kin are his father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Bert [Leander] McGahuey, of Decatur Iowa.

Source: Leon Journal-Reporter, (unknown date)

Plane Failed to Come Back from Mission
Decatur Youth Was Stationed in the SouthWest Pacific Battle Area.

Chester Clifton McGahuey, 21, aviation machinist third class, has been reported as missing in action by the war department, according to the youth’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bert McGahuey of Decatur. The war department notified Mr. and Mrs. McGahuey Monday that the plane and her crew had failed to return from a mission.

McGahuey, a turret gunner, was stationed in the southwest Pacific battle area. Recently he wrote his parents he had been flying at night.

The youth, who attended high school here, and graduated from the Decatur high school, was chosen as an all county player of an all county basketball team a few years ago.
He enlisted in the navy nearly two years ago. He has a brother, Pvt. Marvin Francis McGahuey, who is stationed at the marine base, Camp Elliott, California. He also has another brother, Keith who is a home with his parents, and a sister, Mrs. Alberta Alexander, of Des Moines.

Source: Leon Journal-Reporter, March 1944

Missing in Action
Chester Clifton McGahuey, 21, aviation machinist, third class, pictured above, has been reported missing in action in the southwest Pacific area. The war department notified the youth’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bert McGahuey of Decatur last week. McGahuey is a turret gunner on a flying fortress. He enlisted in the navy nearly two years ago.

The following letter was received by Mr. and Mrs. Bert L. McGahuey of Decatur, who recently received a message from the navy department advising their son was missing in action in the southwest Pacific. The letter is from Lt. Comdr. S. Searcy, Jr., of the navy, who reveals how much the home morale means to those in the service:

“Dear Mr. and Mrs. McGahuey: I must apologize for not answering your letters and card sooner, but we have been pretty busy and doing a bit of traveling. However, I do want to express my thanks and those of all the members of the squadron for your letters and for the card which you have so kindly sent. I can tell you frankly that all of the boys really appreciate your thoughtfulness and your sentiment toward your son’s squadron. Personally I think your spirit and courage are grand and your letters are really a big morale factor for the officers and men of the squadron. Even though your son is missing in the service of his country, you continue to keep your chins up and this fact has a noticeable effect on all of us.

“Since we left San Diego some time back we have been moving around quite a bit and ‘seeing a bit of the world.’ Due to censorship regulations I am not permitted to tell you where we are, nor what we are doing, but we are still all together except for one pilot and his crew whom we lost about three weeks ago. I feel that we have been very fortunate and I pray that our good fortune continues. We have all been together for so long now that each member of the squadron holds his own special place in the hearts of his squadron-mates.

“You have read in the papers about the actions in the Pacific and the meager resistance that the Japs have put up. We all hope this state of affairs continues and will lead, before too long, to a general march on Tokyo. It is such a spirit as yours among the people back home that will make this hope come true more quickly.

“I regret that there is so little that I can write you concerning the actions of the ship and squadron, and I realize that a letter such as this is necessarily dull, but mainly I wanted to thank you for your letters to us and especially for the effect that such a spirit as yours has upon the squadron as a whole.
“S. S. Searcy, Jr., Lt. Comdr., USN.”

Source: Leon Journal-Reporter, March 1944 (photo included)

NOTE: AV MM3/C Chester Clifton McGahuey was born at Decatur, Iowa, on August 22, 1923. He was declared cecased on October 29, 1944. There is a memorial stone for him at Decatur Cemetery. ~ SRB

Source: Decatur County Women's Auxilary WWII Scrapbook; Submission by Decatur County Historical Museum, Leon IA, Sara Rose Joan LeFleur, June of 2016