Col. Francis McGouldrick ’52: A bittersweet farewell

On December 13, 1968, Air Force Col. Francis J. McGouldrick ’52 was flying a nighttime bomber mission over Laos, when his plane collided with another U.S. aircraft on night patrol.

On December 13, 2013, Col. McGouldrick was finally laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, after his family learned that his remains had been found and identified through DNA last fall, 45 years after the incident.

The news caught the attention of old friends, neighbors, and family members across the country, according to his four daughters, who have been buoyed by the support they’ve received in recent months.

“It’s opened up the floodgates for us,” his daughter Megan Genheimer, of Dublin, Ohio, told The New Haven Register. “I think a lot of people had lost track of us.”

Not Darleen Hood of East Haven, Conn. Hood’s birthday is December 13 and she’s been wearing a POW/MIA bracelet bearing McGouldrick’s name in support of missing U.S. service personnel for 30 years. She planned to give it to his family to add to the many others they’ve received since news broke of his identification, according to the Register story.

“I got goosebumps when I heard about it,” Hood told the newspaper. “I’ve always kept this bracelet, and I think about (Col. McGouldrick) every year on my birthday.”