|Sgt. Frank W. Winterling, Marine Air Group 23 (Cactus Air Force), Guadalcanal.|
UPDATE October 14, 2017
Seventy-five years ago today newspapers across the country ran headlines like US Sinks 2 Heavy Japanese Cruisers and Hundreds of Bombers Raid German U-Boat Base at Kiel. At home the favorite song was I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo by the Glenn Miller Band. Folks were going to the movies to watch Judy Garland and Gene Kelly in For Me and My Gal or The Glass Key with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. That Wednesday night, families could tune into their radios and listen to Amos 'n' Andy or Adventures of the Thin Man.
October 14, 1942 was also a day that would see the demise of scores of Americans who died serving their country that day. One of them was Frank E. Winterling who's 100th birthday was earlier this year.
He was born on March 27, 1917 in Montana. His mother was born in Kansas and his father was born in Wisconsin. His father was a farmer. Frank had a brother Joe, one year younger and two younger sisters. By 1940 he had completed three years of college at the University of Wisconsin and was in his final year when the war began.
Brother Joe had enrolled in the Marines in 1939 and was serving with the 4th Marine Division in China. It was moved to the Philippines just before the war started and Joe was there when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and then on the same day attacked the Philippines. Two days after Pearl Harbor, Frank decided to join his brother in the Marines and enlisted. Joe was killed a few months later while defending Corregidor Island.
Frank rose to the rank of Sergeant with the headquarters of Marine Air Group 23. This unit became the core of the renowned Cactus Air Force, operating from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal Island beginning in August 1942.
On October 14, 1942 Sgt. Winterling was killed when Japanese warships conducted a nighttime naval bombardment of Henderson Field. Over 750 shells hit the airfield that night. Apart from Sgt. Winterling, another 40 men were killed.
|B-17 at Henderson Field destroyed in same naval bombardment that killed Sgt. Winterling.|
Having lost both of his sons, 54 year old father Frank W. Winterling also joined the Marines. He had the rank of private and was assigned guard duty in North Carolina.
After the war, Sgt. Winterlings' remains were returned to be buried at Salisbury National Cemetery in North Carolina.
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