November 28, 1914 (Stamford, CT) – December 7, 1941; 27 years old
Mother listed at Stanley Road, Glenbrook (Stamford)
Enlisted on July 17, 1940
Service number O-095975
USS ARIZONA (BB-39)
Received the Purple Heart Medal. In the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
In the article below, Ensign O’Neill is said to have graduated from Northwestern University. The author requested a yearbook photo from the university. Through that request, it was discovered he graduated from the Naval Reserve program and not the university itself. Thanks to Charla Wilson from Northwestern’s library for the clarification.
“Northwestern’s stated objective was to use its entire resources to aid in winning the war. To this end an accelerated program of study incorporating the quarter system was adopted which allowed students to graduate in three years by attending summer sessions. Students who had completed three years of high school with high standing were allowed to enter the university so that they could complete their college degree before reaching the minimum draft age of twenty.”
From The Hartford Courant December 13, 1941
Stamford, Dec. 12 – (AP) – Mr. and Mrs. William T. O’Neill were notified today by the Navy Department that their son William Jr., 27, an ensign, was killed in the Japanese raid at Pearl Harbor. O’Neill was the second Stamford resident whose death in the Hawaiian attack was announced, that of Sergeant Vincent Horan, Army Air Corps, at Hickam Field having been reported earlier. A graduate of Stamford High School, O’Neill attended Fordham and Northwestern Universities. Upon graduation from Northwestern in 1940, he was commissioned an ensign in the Navy.
From The Hartford Courant November 15, 1943
Newark, New Jersey, November 14 – (AP) – The destroyer escorts O’Neill and Bronstein were launched today in the yards of the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company at Port Newark. They were named for the late Ensign William Thomas O’Neill Jr., of Glenbrook (Stamford), Connecticut and the late Lieutenant Ben Richard Bronstein of Manchester, New Hampshire. Mrs. Lillian Ross O’Neill of Stanley Road, Glenbrook, Connecticut, christened the O’Neill for her son, who was declared officially dead as of December 7, 1941, when the battleship Arizona was torpedoed and bombed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
USS Arizona Memorial
Memorialized Courts of the Missing, Court 1, Honolulu Memorial, 2177 Puowaina Drive, Hawaii