CHICAGO — First Lt. Edward T. McGuire, a graduate of the Mount Carmel High School class of 1939, died Aug. 1, 1943, at the age of 22 when his B-24 Liberator bomber went down near Ploiesti, Romania, during Operation Tidal Wave in World War II. While his death was presumed when he did not make it back to the Allied base following the operation, his remains were recovered in 2017, which began a multiyear identification process.
On Saturday, 80 years after his death, McGuire and his family were treated to a massive military funeral in Evergreen Park. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, police and fire departments, hundreds of community members and dozens of veterans came to pay their respects.
“What the Department of Defense has put on here is a testament to how great our country is,” said McGuire's great-nephew Mike McAuliffe of St. Louis, who also attended Mount Carmel. “It has finally put closure to our family.”
Operation Tidal Wave was a flyover mission that sought to use U.S. and British bombers, including the one piloted by McGuire, to take out German oil refineries in Romania. But several mistakes were made in the planning, according to historian Roger Miller, who documented the attack for the Air Force Historical Support Division.
The most glaring error was the order for the bombers to fly low over the targets — the antithesis of bombing policy, which prefers to keep bombers high and out of…