Military Bios

Chaplain (Major General) Terence P. Finnegan:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired July 1, 1962.   Died Jan. 17, 1990.
Chaplain (Major General) Terence P. Finnegan, chief of chaplains, U.S. Air Force, was born in Norwich, Conn., in 1904.
A graduate of St. Thomas Seminary and College, Hartford, Conn., in 1924 with a bachelor of arts degree, he received his master of arts and bachelor of sacred theology degrees from St. Mary's Seminary and University, Baltimore, Md., in 1930. He was ordained as a priest of the Roman Catholic Church May 30, 1930 at St. Joseph's Cathedral, Hartford, and served for six years as a priest in the Diocese of Hartford. On the creation of the Diocese of Norwich in 1953, he was transferred to that diocese.
On April 12, 1956, His Holiness Pope Pius XII appointed Chaplain Finnegan a domestic prelate with the title of right reverend monsignor. The appointment was made in recognition of his fine contributions to the spiritual welfare of personnel of the Armed Forces whom he had served for nearly 20 years.
Appointed chaplain (first lieutenant) in the U.S. Army Reserve Jan. 4, 1937, he entered active military service the following April. His first assignment was district chaplain of the Civilian Conservation Corps unit at Silver City, N.M. Assignments followed in Texas, South Carolina and Illinois. He was appointed first lieutenant in the Regular Army in August 1940.
In September 1941, he was transferred from Fort Ord, Calif., and was assigned as assistant battalion chaplain, 25th Division Artillery, at Oahu, Hawaii. Two days after Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 9, 1941, he was named division chaplain of the 25th Infantry Division.
Chaplain Finnegan received the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service against the Japanese Forces at Guadalcanal during the period Dec. 17, 1942 to Feb. 9, 1943. He was air evacuated to a hospital in New Zealand in June 1943 suffering from pneumonia and malaria. In January 1944 he was returned to the United States and held various assignments in this country before being named theater chaplain, USA Forces, Mediterranean Theater of Operations in August 1946. He attended Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., from September 1947 to July 1948.
Chaplain Finnegan transferred to the U.S. Air Force July 1, 1949, and was named air chaplain, Headquarters, Continental Air Command, Mitchel Air Force Base, N.Y.
In January 1950 Chaplain Finnegan reported to the Far East Air Forces as deputy air chaplain and later became air chaplain of Far East Air Forces. During this assignment, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service in Japan and Korea during the period July 23 to Nov. 2, 1950. He was awarded an oak leaf cluster to the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service with the Far East Air Forces from July 1951 to November 1952.
In December 1952, Chaplain Finnegan was named command chaplain of Headquarters Air Training Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. He was assigned as deputy chief of chaplains, U.S. Air Force Aug. 1, 1953 in his then grade of colonel, and was promoted to the grade of brigadier general in October 1953.
Chaplain Finnegan was promoted to the grade of major general July 1, 1958 and took over his duties as chief of chaplains, U.S. Air Force, Aug. 15, 1958.
Enjoys hunting, fishing and gardening.
Is an accomplished speaker and has the facility to adapt himself and his talk to the age and background of his audiences and the subject matter at hand.
Is keenly interested in welfare work.
Legion of Merit - Nov. 1950 and oak leaf cluster - Nov. 1952
Bronze Star Medal - June 1944
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Occupation Medal (Japan)
Korean Service Medal
United Nations Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Air Force Longevity Service Award with four oak leaf clusters
Prefers good food tastefully prepared and served, but maintains the adjective "good" is relative - the rations on Guadalcanal and in Korea were "good" being the best at hand. A priest and an Air Force chaplain, he is limited to wearing his priest's robes and his uniform. He has the option of sports clothes for 1ounging and in most instances, his taste in the latter is "quiet."
He is an avid reader, principally of philosophical works and poetry; prefers classical and semi-classical music; has enjoyed the privilege of travel made possible by his military service but confesses to the habit of giving thanks on each return to this country - he loves all and any part of it.
Asks only of each person with whom he comes in contact, as he does of himself, to try to be true to God and to one's self to the best of one's ability.
Honesty in speech and action is, in his estimation, the only measure of man. Feels anything may have a modicum of justification if the individual has done his best with the materials at hand - the qualification is that the person must be honest in his presentation.
Saw first planes enter pass in Hawaii on Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7, 1941. Car was strafed enroute to his own area, no damage inflicted or wounds incurred.


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