Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Thomas E. Doherty, MSgt., USAF (Retired)November 14, 1917 – July 5, 2007
Thomas E. Doherty, Decorated Air Force Veteran, of Forest Lake, died peacefully at home on July 5, 2007.
Preceded in death by step-son, Danny DePonti. He is survived by his wife Kay (DePonti) Doherty; brother John (Lorraine), sisters-in-law, Margaret, Elizabeth; brother-in-law, Bill; many other relatives and friends.
An Air Force Veteran, Sr. Master Sgt. Doherty completed 40 years of active duty in 1977. He began serving in 1937 with the 109th Observation Squadron at Holman Field. He served as a liaison pilot during WWII. In the China-Burma-India theatre he learned to fly some of the first helicopters the Air Force had. In 1943 he was chosen to work in secret Project Nine, described as a dangerous mission in which there was a slim chance of return. An expert pilot, M/Sgt. Doherty was one of twenty-five men on the project who aided the British in Burma across the Bay of Bengal from Calcutta. Following Project Nine, Tom was one of ten men sent back to the States to form the Second Air Commandos. At that time, he was awarded the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross.
At the end of the war, he rejoined the 109th as an Air Tech., flying P-51’s at Holman Field. Later becoming a flight engineer on the C-97 Boeing and the C-130 Hercules.
After retiring from the Air Force, Tom flew fire watch for the DNR, and instructed flying students. He and his wife Kay owned and operated the Forest Lake Airport until 1998.
Tom was a life member of VFW Post 4210.
Mass of Christian Burial 10:30 AM, Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 1250 South Shore Drive, Forest Lake. Visitation 4-8 PM, with a 7:30 PM ritual service accorded by VFW Post 4210 on Monday, July 9, 2007 at Mattson Funeral Home 343 North Shore Drive, Forest Lake. Interment in Fort Snelling National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Peter’s Catholic Church.
Thomas, like so many others who have selflessly served our country for our freedom, leaves behind a grateful nation. We invite you to share a personal sentiment about Thomas in the permanent community memorial scrapbooks. Please visit the Help Honor a Veteran article on the News and Events page of our web site for more details.