Lt. Warren O. Van Winkle

Verona Residence: 34 Forest Avenue

According to a dispatch from the Eighth AAF in England, posthumous award of the Distinguished Flying Cross will be made to First Lieutenant Warren O. Van Winkle, Liberator pilot, who was reported killed in a raid over Germany on May 12. Lt. Van Winkle was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert C. Van Winkle of 646 East Passaic Avenue, Bloomfield, and husband of the former Miss Lorraine M. Fischer of 34 Forest Avenue, Verona.

In addition to the Order of the Purple Heart which the Lieutenant’s wife received a short time ago, he held the Air Medal and three Oak Leaf Clusters before his death. Born in Bloomfield, he would have been 23 June 18. He was graduated from Bloomfield High school in 1939 and before going into the service was employed at National Newark & Essex Banking Company. Lt. Van Winkle flew 25 missions after going overseas last November.

He also leaves a daughter, Gail Marie, 3 months old, and a sister Carol Ann Van Winkle.
From the private collection of Mr Joseph Barry dated June 1944

D.F.C AND AIR MEDAL ARE GIVEN TO LOCAL HERO’S WIFE
Mother Cherishes Letter of Praise From General Arnold

The Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and three Oak Leaf Clusters, awarded to Lt. Warren C. Van Winkle, posthumously, were received by his wife at a presentation ceremony held at Weequahic Park Officer’s Club recently. The presentation for “noteworthy achievement while participating in five separate bombing missions over enemy territory” and for “heroism and extraordinary bravery while in combat flight,” was presented by Major Lonergan of the Army Air Forces.

Lt. Van Winkle, husband of the former miss Lorraine Fischer of 34 Forest Avenue, Verona, and son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert C. Van Winkle of 646 East Passaic Avenue, Bloomfield, was killed in a raid over Germany on May 12 last year. He was a pilot on a B-24 Bomber. His mother cherishes a letter from Brigadier General Arnold, Deputy Chief of the Army Air Force Staff, extolling her son for bravery, courage and achievement while in combat.

The Lieutenant’s daughter, whom he never saw, celebrated her first birthday on March 9 at the home of her paternal grandparents.
Text and photo courtesy of the private collection from Mr. Joseph Barry, dated 1945

Author’s Note: According to a childhood friend of Lt. Van Winkle, Mrs.
Doris Barry Reese, the circumstances of his death are as follows: Lt. Van
Winkle’s plane was hit by enemy fire while on a bombing mission. Lt. Van
Winkle held the controls long enough for members of his crew to safely
jump out of the plane with parachutes. The plane then crashed, killing
him. Two members of his crew attended the ceremony described above at
the Weequahic Park Officer’s Club and recounted the story to Lt. Van
Winkle’s family.
The Following is an account of what happened on May 12, 1944
courtesy of Mr. Calvin Davidson, President of the 93rd Bomb
Group Association:
May 12, 1944: The Combined Chiefs ordered enemy oil assaulted by the entire Eighth (Eighth Army Air Force, of which the 93rd Bomb Group was a part of). Each Wing (Bomb Group) had an oil target. The Circus (Circus was the nickname of the 93rd Bomb Group)effort was against the Bohlen synthetic works near Leipzig. The target had been smacked minutes earlier by another Wing and the Circus found columns of smoke. Unlike his low-level role at Ploesti, the 93rd’s Lieutenant Colonel Clarence R. Porter, in a
pathfinder ship, led Wing bombing from five miles up. Twenty-four of 25 Circus ships
(B-24 Bombers)
attacked with good results. Flak was intense around Leipzig and in the target area. Most enemy fighters were twin-engine types, not too aggressive in the target area; however, they blistered formation tail-enders making withdrawal.  The oil plant was well clobbered although some Circus bombs went awry.
Lieutenant Warren O. Van Winkle, pilot of a 409th(409th Bomb Squadron, of the 93rd Bomb Group) ship, was crippled by flak over the target. From another ship, pilot Martin Barkan reported Van Winkle was finished off at 1415 hours by fighters and seven chutes were counted. The plane crashed near Craula, vicinity of Kangensalza. Van Winkle perished; others survived. Injured George Pettey, a gunner, was rounded up later some 10 kilometers away. The captured were taken to Dulag-Luft (German POW Camp).MIA were: Lieutenants Van Winkle, Alfred W. Hodel (co-pilot)

, John A.. Radosevich (navigator), and Jesse L. Flanigan of St. Louis (bombardier); Sergeants Leonard C. Drew of Melrose, Mass. (engineer), Edward Little (radio operator), William L. Wert (nose-gunner), Jacob L. Rasch and George C. Pettey (waist-gunners) and Theodore E. Cunningham (tail-gunner). Later confirmed KIA was Van Winkle. Confirmed POWs were Hodel, Radosevich, Flanigan, Drew, Little, Rasch. Cunningham, Wert, Pettey.

93bg

93rdbomb

93rdbomb2

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Gail Marie Van Winkle 1

Gail Marie Van Winkle 2

Van Winkle Marriage

vanwinkle

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Carol  Gemgnani, sister of Lt. Van Winkle

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Carol
Gemgnani, sister of Lt. Van Winkle

vanwinkle2

Gravestone from Glendale Cemetery,  Bloomfield, NJ (Mount Vernon, Lot 47, Grave 3)

Gravestone from Glendale Cemetery,
Bloomfield, NJ
(Mount Vernon, Lot 47, Grave 3)

Crew of the Marion B-24 Bomber (Standing left to right: Jacob Rasch, John Radosevic, Edward Little, Leonard Drew, Theodore Cunningham, William Wert) (Kneeling left to right: Warren Van Winkle, Thomas Atkinson, George Petty, David Yaus) Photo courtesy of Mr. Jacob L. Rasch

Crew of the Marion B-24 Bomber
(Standing left to right: Jacob Rasch, John Radosevic, Edward Little, Leonard Drew, Theodore Cunningham, William Wert)
(Kneeling left to right: Warren Van Winkle, Thomas Atkinson, George Petty, David Yaus)
Photo courtesy of Mr. Jacob L. Rasch

Lt. Warren Van Winkle Pinning the Air Medal on members of his crew (George Petty, Edward Little and Leonard Drew) The medals were supposed to be awarded by General James "Jimmy" Doolittle, Commander of the Eighth Air Force, but the crew would not  attend the ceremony because Doolittle had raised the number of required combat missions from 25 to 30. Doolittle stated that the combat  missions were getting easier, but, according to Jacob Rasch, They were getting harder and they were losing more crews. Photo courtesy of Mr. Jacob L. Rasch

Lt. Warren Van Winkle Pinning the Air Medal on members of his crew
(George Petty, Edward Little and Leonard Drew)
The medals were supposed to be awarded by General James “Jimmy” Doolittle, Commander of the Eighth Air Force, but the crew would not
attend the ceremony because Doolittle had raised the number of required combat missions from 25 to 30. Doolittle stated that the combat
missions were getting easier, but, according to Jacob Rasch, They were getting harder and they were losing more crews.
Photo courtesy of Mr. Jacob L. Rasch

Purple Heart

Purple Heart

dfc

device_olc_bronzedevice_olc_bronzedevice_olc_bronze

Air Medal

Air Medal

Air Medal with Three Oak Leaf Clusters

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One thought on “Lt. Warren O. Van Winkle

  1. To Robert Caruso:
    Enjoyed the Memorial Day festivities for the Verona Heroes. It was nice to meet other
    Veronas Heroes loved ones.

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