Charles R. Maguire

1916 - 2009


Their Story

Charles R. ‘Bud’ Maguire was born on September 3rd, 1916 in Philadelphia, PA to Joseph and Helen Maguire. Maguire was twenty-five years old when the United States was dragged into the Second World War by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As the US declared war, Maguire enlisted in the Army to serve his nation in the raging global conflict. Quickly marrying his wife Jeanne A. Marzeck in 1943, Maguire was rapidly deployed to the Pacific Theater to participate in one of the most incredible and brave, but tragically little-remembered, campaigns waged by the Army Air Force.[1]

Maguire and his crewmen of the 13th Army Air Force arrived in the Pacific on the transport plane “Snafu” in October of 1943. The 13th shared this flight with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who almost certainly gave words of encouragement to the young US airmen heading to war.[2] Snafu landed on Munda Point, which the Army had captured from the Japanese two months earlier after months of fierce jungle fighting that involved flamethrowers, innovative tank operations, and frightening Japanese night-raids on the battered American troops. The little-known Assault on Munda Point would be a foreshadowing of the 13th’s operations in the Pacific theater: though not remembered by the history books as famous operations, they were showcases of American military heroism and overwhelming bravery in the face of a formidable foe.[3]

The 13th Army Air Force made a stunning record of operations in the Pacific. The 13th was composed of heavy bombers and long-range fighter planes operating out of Guadalcanal since the Marines captured the island in 1942. The 13th were set primarily upon the missions of attacking Japanese bases at Rabaul and Balikpapan. Toward that end and others, the 13th flew 97,038 combat missions, dropped 61,929 tons of bombs, and destroyed 1,439 enemy planes (while losing less than half of that number). Perhaps most impactful upon the outcome of the war was the 13th’s most secretive mission: the aerial assassination of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto: “An intercepted message tipped the Americans to a flight carrying Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese fleet. A fighter from the 13th shot the plane down on April 18, 1943… the successful mission was reported a month late, and in sparing detail to avoid tipping the Japanese that their code had been broken.”[4] Through missions such as these, Maguire and the 13th Army Air Force were able to push the Japanese Empire out of the Pacific, toward their home island and eventual surrender.

After the war, Maguire would live out the remainder of his life with his wife and their children in Bettendorf, Iowa. Maguire would leave behind several grandchildren and great-grandchildren when he passed away from this world on December 6th, 2009. His headstone remembrance reads, “BELOVED HUSBAND, DEAREST FATHER, LOVING GRANDPA”, above which is recorded the Air Medal he received for heroism and meritorious service during a flight mission in the Pacific.[5] Though his and the 13th Army Air Force’s contributions and sacrifices toward victory in Japan are afforded little space in the history books, their heroism and service to the United States manage still to speak volumes from the footnotes.


[1] “Charles ‘Bud’ Maguire,” The Rock Island Argus, December 8, 2009, p. 5.

[2]“Pennsylvania Airmen in Munda,” The Philadelphia Enquirer , October 24, 1943, p. 6.

[3] Ed Lengel, “Forgotten Fights: Assault on Munda Point, New Georgia, 1943,” The National WWII Museum | New Orleans (The National World War II Museum, August 3, 2020),

[4] Douglas Kalajian, “Unlucky 13: Army Air Force Outfit Flew Under the Radar,” The Palm Beach Post, February 27, 2002, pp. 53-60, 60.

[5] “Charles ‘Bud’ Maguire,” The Rock Island Argus, December 8, 2009, p. 5.