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Al Capone’s connection to O’Hare Airport’s namesake

Al Capone, Easy Eddie & Butch O-Hare

Real-Life Story Number One

 

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed “Easy Eddie.”He was his lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good!”Eddie’s skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well and gave him a mansion with all conveniences.”Eddie gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him, but he did have one soft spot – a son whom he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had nice clothes, cars and a good education. Price was no object.”And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach his son right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.”One day, Easy Eddie decided to rectify wrongs he had done.He decided he would testify against the mob and Capone, clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity.”So he testified. In 1932, Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

In 1939, Easy Eddie was gunned down on a lonely Chicago street. Most people credited Capone’s people for the hit.

 Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine. The poem read:The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time.
For the clock may soon be still.

 

Real- Life Story Number Two

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tanks. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold: a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn’t reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.

There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes.Wing-mounted 50 caliber’s blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch’s daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy’s first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“A year later, Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His memory is kept alive as Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is named for him.”The kicker”What do these two stories have to do with each other?

Butch O’Hare was Easy Eddie’s son.

Numerous historical accounts show that Edward Joseph “Easy Eddie” O’Hare was Capone’s lawyer and a partner in some of the gangster’s criminal activities. Easy Eddie had a hand in running Capone’s horse and dog track operations; in fact, earlier in his career he was a partner with the man who invented the “rabbit” that greyhounds chase around the track.

He did help the government imprison Capone on tax evasion charges but accounts differ as to whether he did that after an attack of conscience or because he saw a way to keep himself out of prison.Eddie also might have made a deal to get his son into the Naval Academy, according to the organized crime section of the Illinois Police and Sheriff’s News (IPSN) website.

Eddie’s son, Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare, did indeed shoot down five Japanese fighters and disable a sixth, according to the historical accounts. The shootout took place within sight of hundreds of Lexington crew members, according to IPSN.

O’Hare was being fired on with machine guns and cannons from all angles, but he “just kept moving,” one eyewitness report said.Lt. Butch O’Hare received the Medal of Honor in 1942 for his actions defending the Lexington and was promoted to lieutenant commander. The medal citation calls it “… one of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action in the history of combat aviation. …

“O’Hare was killed in November 1943 when his plane went down during the battle for the Gilbert Islands in the South Pacific, but there’s controversy over what led to his death.

In the biography of O’Hare, “Fateful Rendezvous: The Life of Butch O’Hare” co-authors John Lundstrom and Steve Ewing write that he was shot down by a Japanese bomber. Other accounts say he was shot down by friendly fire during a night mission.

A 1947 Collier’s magazine article about Easy Eddie O’Hare stated that his work as an informant helped win public favor for him.

In 1949, Orchard Field Airport was renamed O’Hare to honor Easy Eddie’s son, World War II ace Butch O’Hare.

 

“Contrary to what many people are being led to believe, a lot of emphasis placed on genes determining human behavior is nothing but theory and doctrine,” writes Konstantin Eriksen.

“We are free to make decisions that impact our lives and those of others. …

Our beliefs can change our biology.

We have the power to heal ourselves, increase our feelings of self-worth and improve our emotional state.”

 


 

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