- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Fatherless at 15, Pat O'Brien left his home of Momence, IL seeking to learn to fly at a time when aeroplanes were mere kites. He was among the very first pilots of the Army Signal Corps to test early Curtiss flying machines in 1916 on North Island at San Diego. North Island is now the U.S. Naval Base. Impatient with America's slow ...
Fatherless at 15, Pat O'Brien left his home of Momence, IL seeking to learn to fly at a time when aeroplanes were mere kites. He was among the very first pilots of the Army Signal Corps to test early Curtiss flying machines in 1916 on North Island at San Diego. North Island is now the U.S. Naval Base. Impatient with America's slow acceptance of the aeroplane as a weapon of war, he left the Corps to join the Canadian Force being trained in Toronto to replace thousands of British pilots who were losing their lives in France.
Shot down over Belgium in 1917, he crashed from 8,000 feet and survived, German doctors removing a bullet from his throat. One month later he jumped from a moving prison train and escaped. He was the first American-born pilot to escape in World War I. He walked seventy-two days, over 250 miles behind enemy lines to freedom at the Holland border where he dug under a nine-foot electrified fence and escaped. Arriving in London one week later, he visited King George in a private audience that lasted nearly one hour.
During his six months recovering in London, he penned a best-selling book about his escape and spent all of 1918 speaking all over the United States, replacing William Jennings Bryant as the top speaker that year. He later crashed a second time from 2,000 feet in Dallas, Texas and survived again in a demonstration for new U.S. recruits.
Unsatisfied with his contribution to the war, he returned to France one month before Armistice to join the U.S., British and French Legion but was denied. He therefore pursued Russia, going undercover to assist the American Expeditionary Force in Siberia in President Wilson's effort to remove Allied troops from the advancing Red Army during the Russian Revolution.
Home again in late 1919, his betrothed had become impatient with his constant pursuits and left him, sending the Lieutenant into the whirlwind of the Roaring 20's where he starred in a Hollywood silent film as the leading man in Shadows of the West, an anti-Japanese film that warned of America's next threat. He mysteriously married a young starlet in Havana, Cuba in 1920 after only a three week engagement. She conspired with a woman from Springfield, Illinois to capture his wealth and take advantage of his fame. He moved to Hollywood in 1920 with half a million dollars.
Known to the rich, famous and every man and woman in the United States, Pat O'Brien was found dead in December of 1920 and did not receive a marker on his grave until 2007. Find out why this world famous hero was nearly forgotten until the few who remembered him in Momence, Illinois saw to it that his grave was marked with a Military Marker. The most remarkable story you'll ever read, his life and accomplishments were nearly forgotten due to circumstances of his death. Lt. Pat O'Brien by Kevin McNulty, Sr. is the first complete story of O'Brien's life. It contains facts previously unknown about his life and his ultimate demise. McNulty and local Momence native Marcia Tedford spend six years finding Pat O'Brien.
War, fame, love of two women, the exotic travels to Russia, Siberia, China, Cuba, Europe and Japan plus all the excitement of the early Roaring 20's comes alive in the Story of Lt. Pat O'Brien by Kevin McNulty, Sr. The book is published by KMC PUBLISHING COMPANY of Chicago.