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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York

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World War II hero’s family gets his medals

November 9, 2015
In The News

The heartless burglars who stole the late Lt. Andrew Doyle’s service medals need to know this: the U.S. Army never forgets.

In a ceremony at the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton on Sunday, Brig. Gen. William H. Graham and U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan presented medals to Ann Byrne, the only surviving sibling of Doyle, who disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while flying a combat mission in World War II in 1944.

The medals, including two Purple Hearts, had been in Byrne’s possession for decades, but were stolen in a random burglary several years ago.

Donovan (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) worked with the U.S. Department of Defense to get the stolen medals replaced.

“When we think of ‘the Greatest Generation,’ we think of people like Lt. Andrew Doyle. There is no more fitting way to honor our veterans this week than to replace for Andrew’s family a symbol of his heroism and sacrifice,” Donovan said. 

"It was a privilege to be able to present the medals, badges and the Gold Star pin signifying a loved one lost in war to a family that truly understands service and sacrifice for country. Doing it the same week as Veterans Day gave it greater meaning and significance for all of us," Graham said.

Doyle was born in Brooklyn on Oct. 9, 1920, and was the oldest brother to siblings Ann, Hugh and Agnes. His mother was an Irish immigrant and his father served in the U.S. military in World War I.

Andrew Doyle, who played the banjo and always sang a solo at Christmas Mass, graduated from Holy Name Grammar School in Windsor Terrace and from St. Francis Preparatory High School. He was attending Brooklyn College when World War II broke out. He enlisted in the Army at Whitehall Street on April 10, 1942.

Doyle, a bombardier, was deployed to a base in the Pacific. During a 1944 mission, his plane was hit and he sustained serious injuries. Though he had the option to return home after recuperating in a hospital in Hawaii, Doyle chose to return to duty.

On his very next mission, Doyle’s plane went missing. The plane and crew were never found. On Feb. 8, 1946, Doyle was declared dead. Doyle’s brother, Hugh Patrick Doyle, was also killed in action in Germany in World War II. 

Byrne and her daughter, Maureen O’Neill, reached out to Donovan’s office to request replacement medals from the U.S. Army after the burglary took place.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Brig. Gen. Graham and the Army for doing right by Ann and honoring her family’s sacrifice,” Donovan said.