Butch O’Hare – A Man to Remember

Butch O'Hare

Bad parents can have great kids and great parents can have bad kids. That is one of the lessons I learned as an educator. Don’t be too quick to blame parents or teachers or whoever else.

Blame the person unless you don’t believe in free will and think that we are all to stupid to make reasonable decisions. If that is your belief, then blame everyone else.

Another point I’d like to make is don’t put too much faith in that old adage, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If that were the case, we’d all still be living in caves and cannibalizing people.

Edgar Joseph “Easy Eddie” O’Hare was an Al Capone lawyer and joined with Capone in his illegal enterprises. Easy was an educated mobster, possibly a sociopath or a redeemed soul. Easy Eddie helped the government bring down Capone on tax charges in 1931 by turning state’s evidence. On November 9, 1939, Easy Eddie was murdered, presumably by Capone’s mob.

It is not known whether Easy had pangs of conscience when he turned state’s evidence or if he could see the writing on the wall and wanted to save himself. The Feds were going to get Capone and nothing was going to stop them. We will never know who Easy really was.

What makes the story is interesting is Easy’s son, Lt. Commander Eddie “Butch” O’Hare, March 13, 1914 – November 26, 1943, an ace pilot, who died courageously in the Pacific on November 26, 1943 during a first-ever nighttime attack. Butch was the Navy’s first flying ace and Medal of Honor recipient in World War II. He served bravely and honorably . Chicago’s O’Hare airport is named after him.

I don’t know what Butch’s mother was like, but he didn’t have the best father and he turned out fine, better than fine. This leads me to another point, don’t let anyone ever define you, your thinking or what you are to be or become. Definitely don’t listen to the media or put all your faith in textbooks. There will only be one you. You are not your parents or what someone else says about you or expects of you. You are who you decide to be – don’t waste the gift of life. Butch didn’t and he did it despite what he inherited.

Butch in his Grumman F4-F3 Wildcat

An anecdote about O’Hare, serving as an instructor on Hawaii mid-1942:

“(O’Hare) was a great swimmer and spear fisherman, and he insisted that the squadron swim with him. Swimming with Butch O’Hare meant that at eight o’clock in the morning, you swam out into the ocean off Maui; he would still be out there at three in the afternoon! If he got hungry, Butch would roll over and dive, and the next thing you knew, he would come up with a fish of some sort. Then he’d just roll over and lie on his back like an otter and eat the thing raw! He really impressed us with that! One day, he came back to the surface with an octopus draped over his arm. He said, ‘Now, you have to learn how to kill these things, boys: you bite ’em right behind the eye.’ And with that, he chomped down! The octopus has some sort of spinal cord there, and biting it there does kill it! Then we had to go back to the beach where Butch would put these things in a frying pan with a little oil and some salt and stir them around. He enjoyed them, but they tasted like old rubber tires to me!” (Wiki)