Howard Daniel McAlonie was born on June 30, 1923 in Whitehall, New York. After the death of his father when he was 15, his family moved to Troy, NY and attended St. Peter’s Church in Troy, NY. Howard attended St. Peter's School and graduated from Catholic Central High School (CCHS) as part of the class of 1941. Today, West Hall Building on the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) campus.
During August 1943, McAlonie joined the U. S. Navy (USN) and was assigned to the 133rd Naval Construction Battalion (133rd NCB) “SeaBees”.
In October 1943, McAlonie had a brief leave and visited his hometown to see his mother and visited Catholic Central High School (CCHS). Coincidentally, three of his friends and classmates from the class of 1941 from the same senior yearbook page were also home on leave. The four classmates and friends: Jack Marcil, John F. McGrath, Howard D. McAlonie and Alfred E. Mahoney were photographed walking down the steps of the school wearing their uniforms. Later, this photograph appeared in the CCHS Catholicon Yearbook 1944 as the dedication page.
On February 19, 1945 Howard landed at approximately 2:45pm in the second wave on the invasion beaches of Iwo Jima attached to the 4th Marine Division. During the landing, McAlonie manned a machine gun in his Amtrac LVT4. His unit, the 133rd NCB, took the greatest casualties of any Seabee battalion in World War II, with approximately 40 percent casualties on Iwo Jima. McAlonie made it through with only a burned hand. After the battle, the 133rd worked to repair the island and build infrastructure. Howard McAlonie’s Navy rating was water tender, assembling and maintaining the desalination equipment and tanks of the 133rd NCB water works.
On July 20, 1945 his hometown friend 2nd Lt. John F. McGrath flew to Iwo Jima from Guam during his R&R to try to locate his friends from Troy that he knew were based on the island: Howard McAlonie and Abbott Hope. Amazingly, he was able to locating his friends and their reunion was photographed on the black sand beach near their tent before McGrath departed back to duty the next day. During the visit, McAlonie gave McGrath a note with the names of other friends from Troy including the names P. McAlonie. Joseph F. Masterson and H. McAlonie. The next day, McGrath went Missing In Action (MIA) piloting F4U Corsair 81095 on a combat mission. This handwritten note written on Iwo Jima was returned to Howard in 2002, by McGrath’s niece.
McAlonie attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) graduating with the class of 1950. Next, he attended UPenn Wharton School of Business, and then worked as a mechanical engineer for the Department of the Army at the Benét Laboratories in the Watervliet Arsenal for over 40 years.
McAlonie passed away April 22, 2014. He is buried at Saint Patrick's Cemetery in Watervliet, NY.
Michael McAlonie (son)
CCHS Catholicon Yearbook 1941 page 71 (photo, lower right)
CCHS Catholicon Yearbook 1944 page 4 (dedication page) page 5 (photo)
FindAGrave - Howard Daniel McAlonie (grave photos, obituary)
Times Union "Obituary Howard Daniel McAlonie" April 24, 2014
"Howard Daniel McAlonie, 91, was the son of Edgar Howard and Lenore Lucy (Halloran) McAlonie. Howard graduated from Catholic Central High School in Troy in 1941 and then went on to be a World War II "Seabee" combat veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy in the 133rd and 31st Naval Construction Battalions attached to the 4th Marine Division at the battle of Iwo Jima and later in Japan. In 1950, he graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and then attended the UPenn Wharton School of Business. An engineer at heart, he retired after 41 years serving as a mechanical engineer at the Benet Laboratories in the Watervliet Arsenal. Howard and his wife were active members and volunteers at Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Latham. He was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, the late Margaret V. Boland; his brothers, George E. and Paul F. McAlonie; and his sister, Josephine O'Brien McAlonie. He is survived by one sister, Ellen Stevens of Phoenix, and his six children; seven grandchildren and many nieces and nephews."
Thanks to Michael McAlonie for additional information and research.
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