Paul James Flaherty

Private First Class, U.S. Army


B Company
26th Infantry Regiment
1st Infantry Division

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: April 9, 1967
Buried at: 
Awards: Bronze Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster

PRIVATE FIRST CLASS PAUL JAMES FLAHERTY was born October 17, 1948, to Francis and Lora Flaherty. He grew up in a loving family with his sister, Carolyn, and younger brother, Dennis. Paul was the peacemaker of the family, always watching out for others. Once when Carolyn got into a minor car accident, Paul told his mother, “not to holler at her.” Although everyone knew Paul as a peacemaker, he did enjoy teasing his little brother. He also liked going to Dennis’ basketball games. He was proud of him!

Paul was a good natured, happy-go-lucky kid and enjoyed his years at St. Mary’s Grammar School in Gloucester. He graduated from Gloucester High School in 1967. While in school, he enjoyed sports, participating in baseball, basketball, and football. He was also involved in the Interact Club. Paul loved music and especially liked listening to the songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Can’t Take my Eyes Off of You was one of his favorite tunes.

After graduation, Paul worked at the Campbell Soup Company. He worked hard and was able to save enough money to buy a much-wanted car, a 1964 Ford Falcon.

Paul was inducted into the US Army in June 1968. He attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC). There was no doubt in his mind that this was “the right thing to do” for his country, even though he felt he wouldn’t be able to kill anyone. He went through basic training at Fort Dix, NJ and then went on to Fort Polk, LA. By being sent to Louisiana, where it was hot and humid, there was no doubt in his mind where he would be going. On November 5, 1968, Paul left for Vietnam from San Diego, CA. He didn’t show his nervousness. He stayed strong for all those who loved him.

While on patrol on December 3, 1968, Flaherty was wounded by shrapnel from an exploding landmine and spent two weeks in the hospital. Upon his recovery, he was returned to duty.

On January 7, 1969, Flaherty was serving as a machine gunner with his unit on an ambush patrol. They were suddenly subjected to intense mortar fire, grenades, and small arms fire. While placing a barrage of machine gun fire on the aggressors, Paul was fatally wounded by shrapnel from an exploding mortar. Army records attribute his death to enemy small arms fire. Paul had been in Vietnam for two months at the time of his death. He was 20 years old.

Paul was awarded seven medals and citations. Among those medals were two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star with a “V” for valor, and a Sharp Shooter Medal.

is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
on Panel 35W, Row 47


** Note that some of these messages are from years ago
 and their contact information may not be good anymore **

Gloucester Kid

       I can't say I knew you well. You were a class ahead of me. Listening to the war broadcast and reports of many losses with you among them made you special in my memory of those years. You are and have been in my thoughts and prayers since that day. I pray that we are all together one day in a giant Gloucester City reunion. A fellow Gloucester Boy, Al 

Albert Patterson8/12/2006
Fellow home town boy


Friendship Remembered

I knew him only a short while, but I think of him often. His quiet and feeling mannerism built the bond between us. Just two recruits in need of friendship. We were separated after BASIC, but still wrote to keep in touch. The last letter was returned unopened. When I think about him, I sometimes wonder about the family and how they must miss him. I just want to let them know someone else remembers and misses him.

David Fallon
Wednesday, May 17, 2000
BASIC Training at Fort Dix, NJ



We all miss you! Den

Dennis Flaherty
Wednesday, September 01, 1999


A Classmate's Remembrance

It has been too many years, Paul, yet I still remember those lousy practices and JV games, our grousing about coaches, Saturdays sitting on the bench during the varsity games, and yet it seems like yesterday when we last spoke to each other. Graduation came and we parted ways as is too often the case. you to the Army and I to college. Know that I respect and honor your courage and sacrifice, rest in peace my good friend, rest in peace.

Harold Boyer
Tuesday, May 06, 2003
high school classmate