In Memory of Captain Lawrence E. Rafferty — American Hero

On our blog, we have all been enriched by the commentary and insights of Larry Rafferty. Larry is an attorney from Chicago and, despite being a White Sox fan, I asked Larry to be one of our weekend bloggers after reading his uniformly civil and insightful thoughts on legal and political issues. I was not aware until recently about Larry’s father and his disappearance after World War II. Last week, the Chicago Tribune ran a story about Larry’s father, Air Force Capt. Lawrence Rafferty, who was buried at Arlington this year. Mark Esposito and his wife were in attendance representing our community with the Rafferty family and friends. Larry’s mother, Frances, 89, (shown below) was present to see her husband given the honor that he so richly deserved. Captain Rafferty now has a place with other American heroes at Arlington and I wanted to share his incredible story with members of our blog.

Captain Rafferty had completed 50 missions in three months starting on D-Day and received a medal of bravery for one of those missions. He disappeared in 1951.

Frances recalled that she was coloring Easter eggs on Good Friday with her four children when servicemen came to her home to deliver the telegram that her husband’s plane has disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean. Captain Rafferty was only 29 and a passenger on a plane going to the British Isles. The plane was never located and the mystery remains enduring as to what happened on the flight of the C-124 transport aircraft.

Larry recounted this history in a blog entry:

When ships accompanying the USS Coral Sea finally made it to the scene some 19-24 hours later, the life rafts and the men were nowhere to be found. The official accident report that was fully classified for some 50 years, states that there was some debris found in the area, but there was no sign of the crew or the passengers.

The search went on for several days and Western Union telegrams were sent to the families of the men on board detailing the extent of the search activities and efforts. But the searches were unable to turn up any evidence of what happened to the 53 souls on board. The only evidence that the men were there was a valise that was found that had the name of one of the passengers on it. The valise belonged to my father, Captain Lawrence E. Rafferty, who had also been a veteran B-24 pilot in World War II with 50 bombing missions to his credit.

Our Larry recounts in the article below that “My loss was never knowing him. In a sense, it was like he never existed. Now there is a permanent marker to remember what he did and what he gave up.”

It is equally tragic that Captain Rafferty never knew the man that we have come to know and respect on this blog. Larry would make any father proud, but would be a particular source of pride for a man who fought so hard for freedom in World War II. Larry honored the service of his father by fighting as a lawyer and a blogger for the rights of all Americans. We are so grateful to Captain Rafferty for his sacrifice and for his son.

I expect that Captain Rafferty took solace in the fact that he was leaving his children with a woman of clearly extraordinary wisdom and strength. It was wonderful to see pictures of Frances and the rest of the family. She is still a beauty and overcame much to raise Larry and his three siblings. She and Captain Rafferty now have 17 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren to their credit.

Finally, Happy Birthday to Frances. The grande dame turned 89 this past Wednesday!

Thank you Larry for sharing this service and these pictures with your friends here on the blog. Our sincerest condolences and thanks to the Rafferty family.

Source: Chicago Tribune

31 thoughts on “In Memory of Captain Lawrence E. Rafferty — American Hero”

  1. Raff & Dredd,

    My most sincere condolences for both of you and your families. Both of your fathers were men of honor and courage deserving of the highest praise. My father served in WWII in Italy and is still with us. I treasure his recounting his wartime memories so that I can keep his story alive for my children and grandchildren. Bless your fathers.

  2. Raff

    Our condolences and best wishes to you and your family. May your father rest in peace.

  3. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Words just seem so inadequate sometimes.

  4. Dredd,

    Who knows where we will end up after this…..but there has to be life after this……


    You are a treasure to this site……

  5. Eloquently expressed in both this tribute by Jonathan Turley and in the earlier one, MK-269, by Lawrence Rafferty. (“Happy Belated Birthday” to your mother, rafflaw. And as Blouise intimated, different thoughts and emotions come to mind… and, in my case, words fail…)

  6. And so we keep on doing what we can, so that the sacrifices of your father, as well as those of your family, will not have been in vain. What a lovely tribute, rafflaw.

  7. Warning, warning warning.

    Go to and look at the Permian Basin – oil country, yeah that place and notice the unusual amount of foreclosures. In the 1980’s such an event herald the breaking of big oil cost in the market, the crash is here. The glut of oil on the market, she is here, she is here NOW, the greed unbridled has arrived. Get your money out of the bank. NO savings and loans this time to take the hit, so the banks will fold and you will be screwed so if you have money in the banks, please get your money OUT NOW, do it NOW. It happened like this right before the last big oil collapse, I remember. Germany is hiring the best and the brightest, the USA is failing. The greed machine is going to pull the plug on big oil profit. To much greed and the powers that be do this every fucking time.

    In the 1980’s they pulled up all those oil rigs – not because we had a peak oil problem, oh hell NO, it was but because there wasn’t any money in oil production. They just pulled up those rigs over night. There is NO peak oil. There never, ever was a decline in oil.

    American, she is about to go belly up. The oil is about to go bust again. And just so you know it, only industry right now keeping the US afloat. She is gone, she is gone. Don’t leave ANY money in the Bank. The FDIC means squat right now, it means squat.

    And if I was Obama, I would stay away from those angry security detail people. I would NOT EVER fuck those guys over. NOT EVER. They don”t play ball nice.

  8. Dredd, my sincere condolences for your loss. May your dad rest in peace and that one day the pain you feel now will heal.

    1. Dredd,
      I am sorry to hear you lost your Dad. May your memories of him comfort you in your mourning.

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