On His Way
Written by: Kelly Durham
John Dendy McBrearty was a young man on his way. After graduating from high school in Pelzer in 1931, he enrolled at Clemson College as a general science/pre-medical major. As a Clemson cadet he was promoted to corporal in H Company as a sophomore and served as a sergeant in I Company the following year. He also served as a member of the Junior Council before transferring to the Medical College of South Carolina to continue his studies.
Following his June 1938 graduation from the Medical College, McBrearty interned at Greenville General Hospital where he endeared himself to the members of the staff by the faithful performance of his duties. He joined the Medical Reserve Corps as soon as he was qualified. McBrearty, a member of the Greenville County Medical Society, practiced medicine in Williamston for two-and-a-half years before being called to active duty.
McBrearty entered the Army and reported to Randolph Field near San Antonio, Texas in preparation to becoming an Army Air Force flight surgeon. McBrearty was soon transferred to Tulane University in New Orleans and then was attached to the Anti-Submarine Command in New York.
On July 22, 1943, Captain McBrearty was flying with pilot Second Lieutenant Neal T. Bish on a routine training flight in a UC-78 Bobcat. The Bamboo Bomber, as it was also known, featured wooden wings and tail surfaces, a welded steel-tube fuselage covered with a wooden and fabric skin, a single low wing, and two engines. The aircraft was primarily used for personnel transportation, liaison and communications flights.
Bish’s and McBrearty’s aircraft was about twelve miles from Albany, New York when it encountered difficulties in a summer storm. It crashed near Earlton, killing all on board. The aircraft was destroyed by fire.
John Dendy McBrearty was survived by his wife, the former Sarah Hepburn of Florence, his mother, and a sister. He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.
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