Oakland native’s World War II flight may have inspired song

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — An Oakland native who passed away in November at the age of 100 was once involved in a World War II flight that may have inspired the song “Comin’ in on a Wing and a Prayer.”

J.C. O’Donnell was a 22-year-old Army lieutenant when he flew a twin-engine warplane, a B-26 Marauder, in an intense dogfight in New Guinea on May 28, 1942.

He ended up flying the plane on one engine for four hours, arriving late back to the airstrip at Port Moresby.

News accounts stated that several planes flew over the mountains in New Guinea, and the Americans ended up under attack by more than a dozen Japanese Zero fighter planes.

The battle lasted 35 minutes, and the Marauder’s right engine was destroyed in machine gun fire. The tail was also hit and the fuselage acquired large holes.

O’Donnell took a long route home and was chased by the Japanese planes for about an hour. By the time he got the plane and his crew of six back to the airstrip, it had been declared missing.

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6 Things You Might Not Have Known About Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County

Garrett County, Maryland has a rich history far past Deep Creek Lake.

Here are 6 facts you might have not known about Garrett County!

deep creek-drone

  1. Even before Deep Creek Lake, the county has been a tourist destination. Towns like Deer Park, Mountain Lake Park, and Loch Lynn Heights were popular resort towns in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. In fact, President Grover Cleveland honeymooned in Deer Park in 1886.

  2. Garrett County was originally part of Allegany County, Maryland. It was not until 83 years later, in 1872, that it chartered as a new, separate county.  It was also the last county to form in the state of Maryland.

  3. Garrett County is the second largest county in the state of Maryland. It has 662 square miles of beautiful, mountainous landscape.

  4. There are a total of 7 lakes in the county: Deep Creek Lake, Broadford Lake, Youghiogheny River Lake, Jennings Randolph Lake, Herrington Manor Lake, Savage River Reservoir, and New Germany Lake.

  5. The highest point in the state of Maryland is right here in Garrett County. The point is on Backbone Mountain, 3,360 feet above sea level.

  6. Deep Creek Lake is the largest inland body of water in the whole state! The lake covers over 3,900 acres and has 65 miles of shoreline.