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Michael Alphonse Rafferty

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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Michael Alphonse Rafferty
1903-1944

Michael Alphonse Rafferty was born December 24, 1903, in Lewis County, West Virginia, to William and Mary Cummings Rafferty. Michael was the fourth of eight children, his siblings consisting of four brothers (James T., Daniel T., William, and Bernard J.) and three sisters (Mary Irene, Bridget Regina, and Margaret C.). He graduated from St. Patrick’s High School in Weston before pursuing his college work at West Virginia University, Duquesne University (Pittsburgh), and Rush Medical College (Chicago).

Michael Rafferty received a degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from WVU in 1929 and taught biochemistry at the medical school from 1929 to 1941. During that time he also attended Rush Medical College, graduating in 1937. In 1941, Rafferty took a position in chemical and medical research at Miles Laboratories in Elkhart, Indiana. It was in Indiana that he enlisted in the service in June 2, 1942, as a captain in the Medical Corps. He was stationed at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana; Fort Custer, Michigan; and Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he was promoted to major on November 1, 1943. Assigned to the 15th General Hospital, Major Rafferty was sent overseas to England in February 1944 and later served in France and at Liege, Belgium.

According to a 1945 news release from the public relations section of the hospital, the 15th General Hospital was the first U.S. hospital at Liege and served as an evacuation hospital for the First and Ninth Army battle casualties. Liege had been occupied by the Germans until September 1944 and, after the Germans were forced out, the city endured bombardments by more the 1,000 German V-1 and V-2 bombs until the end of World War II. One period of heavy bombing occurred in late November 1944. On November 24, 1944, the day Major Rafferty was killed, the hospital took a direct hit from a German bomb. In all likelihood, this bomb attack was the cause of his death.

The body of Maj. Michael Alphonse Rafferty was returned to the United States in 1949 and interred at Arlington National Cemetery on April 14.

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