O'Beirne, Henry J.

Henry O'Beirne was born in Dublin, Ireland on 16 August 1937. He immigrated to the United States in 1958 and settled in New York City for one year. He enlisted in the US Air Force and trained to become a medical corpman. He attended the US Army Paratrooper School, the US Navy Underwater Swimmers School, Mountain Survival School and the Juungle Survival School in the Philippines. After two years of this training, Henry O'Beirne was accepted into the Air Force's Pararescue Field. His first assignment was Tachikawa Air Base, Japan. From there he was sent to many islands and countries in the Pacific theater in support of rescue operations and water recovery of space craft. His first TDY to South Vietnam was on 3 December 1963. Over the next two years, Staff Sergeant O'Beirne participated in 359 rescue combat missions. During this time, he was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses with V Device. The first award was for the sea rescue of a U.S. Navy pilot off the city of Vinh, North Vietnam on 9 April 1965 while receiving enemy mortar and machine gun fire. His second award was for voluntarily getting off the rescue helicopter  to become a medic and ammo runner for the encircled 503rd Infantry Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade from 8 to 9 November 1965. The third award was for participation in the attempted rescue of a pilot while under enemy machine gun fire on 17 December 1965.

SSGT O'Beirne was discharged from the Air Force in October 1966. In 1967 he enrolled in the University of Alabama Nurse Anesthetist School, and while in school, he remained in the military reserves, both Army and Air Force. He was commissioned a First Lieutenant in 1973 and served with the 3345th Army Field Hospital. Upon graduation as an anesthetist in 1974, he joined the Alabama Air National Guard and completed twenty-one of military service while there. His civilian job was with the Huntsville Hospital. He joined the US Army 75th Field Hopsital in 1988. In 1990, he was activated for Desert Storm and sent to Saudi Arabia with the 201st Puerto Rican National Guard Field Hospital.  Upon return to the United States, he was attached to the Army's IMA Program for six years, Henry O'Beirne retired from the US Army in 1997 and a Lieutenant Colonel.