JAMES B. CONNAUGHTON, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

James Connaughton '63

Date of birth: April 10, 1941

Date of death: January 29, 1968

Age: 26

Lucky Bag

From the 1963 Lucky Bag:


Obituary

From the June 1968 issue of SHIPMATE:

Lt. James B. Connaughton, USN, died on 29 Jan. when his TF-9J jet trainer crashed near NAAS Chase Field, Beeville, Tex. Lt. Connaughton was attached to Training Squadron 26 as an instructor under training and was on a night formation flight when the accident occurred.

A native of North Lima, Ohio, Lt. Connaughton graduated from the Naval Academy in 1963, and completed flight training in Nov. 1964. Before reporting to VT-26 he had served with detachments of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadrons 11 and 111 aboard the carriers TICONDEROGA and HANCOCK. He had flown 155 combat support missions, and had been awarded the Air Medal with six stars and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

His other medals included the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Navy Unit Commendation.

He is survived by his widow, the former Antoinette LaManna of Canfield, Ohio; two daughters, Sharon, 3, Charlene, 1; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James M. Connaughton, all of 11003 Market St., North Lima, Oh. 44452, and several brothers and sisters.

From usna63.org:

James Blaine Connaughton was born on 10 April 1941 in Youngstown, Ohio. He was killed on the evening of 29 January 1968 as a Navy Lieutenant at age 26, when his TAF-9J Cougar jet plane crashed while landing at the Naval Air Station at Chase Field, Beeville, Texas. James was inducted into the U.S. Naval Academy with the Class of 1963 one month after graduating high school in North Lima, Ohio on 7 July 1959. Connaughton had received the Detwiler Award as North Lima High School's outstanding graduate in 1959. He earned his paratrooper wings following three weeks at Fort Benning, Georgia, after youngster cruise. He graduated on 5 June 1963 as a member of 1st Company.

Upon graduation from the Academy, James was commissioned into Navy Line (designation 1100) and attended undergraduate Pilot Training.

Also from usna63.org:

His widow Toni Long offers the following memories of "My Happy Irishman":

"Jim was born 10 April 1941 in Youngstown, Ohio, the second oldest of James and Dorothy Connaughton's eight children. For three months, between Jim's junior and senior year in high school, he hitchhiked across the country with a friend. It was a pact he made with his Dad. If he could travel the country during the summer of 1958, he would stay in school and graduate. He did that --- and more. He received the Detwiler Award for being the most outstanding senior in his graduating class. He lettered in football and track and sang in the school chorus. Even with these accomplishments, his chance for attending college was minimal since his father worked in the steel mills and had eight children to support. Jim failed to receive a congressional appointment to the Naval Academy, but his scores were so high on the qualification tests, he was nominated by the Academy itself." "Jim told me a story about being in a pub during First Year Cruise and, after chugging a few, his shipmates prodded him to stand on the table and sing Danny Boy. Jim had a beautiful tenor voice. At the end of the song, the crowd gave him a standing ovation."

"I met Jim through his sister Kathleen. Kathleen was a junior and I a senior at the same high school. Kathleen initially called a friend of mine to arrange a date for Jim during his Christmas break in 1961. My friend wasn't available so she suggested Kathleen call me. The rest is history. Jim and I were married on 27 June 1964. We had two daughters, Sharon Connaughton, born in June 1965, and Charlene Connaughton Geary, born March 1967. Sharon is an Antitrust Attorney with Cooley LLP and Charlene is a CPA and the Controller for Tribune Broadcasting in Chicago. Both of Jim's daughters received awards from the United States Naval Academy Class of 1963 Foundation Scholarship during their college years. Jim has three grandchildren. John Blaine Geary (2005), Catherine Shea Geary (2007) and Jacob Anthony Connaughton (2008)."

"Jim was a Lieutenant when he died during a TF-9J training flight in Beeville, TX on the night of 29 January 1968 at the age of 26. He received his wings in November 1964 in Corpus Christi, TX and received orders to North Island in San Diego, CA where he served with detachments of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadrons 11 and 111 aboard the carriers Ticonderoga and Hancock. He had flown 155 combat support missions, and been awarded the Air Medal with six stars and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. His other medals included the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Navy Unit Commendation."


Class of 1963

James is one of 29 members of the Class of 1963 in Memorial Hall.