JACK W. WINTLE, LCDR, USN
Jack Wintle '32
Date of birth: April 18, 1908
Date of death: November 13, 1942
From the 1932 Lucky Bag:
From Find A Grave:
Jack William Wintle was born 18 April 1908 at Pittsburg, Kan., and was appointed a midshipman at the Naval Academy on 14 June 1928, graduating 2 June 1932. He reported for duty on USS CALIFORNIA (BB-44) on the 30th and completed a three-year tour of duty in the battleship before being transferred to submarine tender BUSHNELL (AS-2). That assignment lasted 17 months.
On 7 August 1936, he reported to the Puget Sound Navy Yard to help supervise the fitting out of USS PERKINS (DD-377); and he remained in the destroyer after she went into commission on 18 September 1936. In the summer of 1939, Lt. (jg.) Wintle received postgraduate instruction at the Naval Academy before reporting for duty at the Philadelphia Navy Yard to help prepare destroyer DU PONT (DD-152) for recommissioning and service on the Neutrality Patrol. His tour of duty in that destroyer, one of the first in the Atlantic Squadrons to be fitted with sonar, ended in August 1940 when he was sent to New Orleans where he served almost two years instructing NROTC midshipmen.
Late in April 1942, he reported to the Bureau of Navigation in Washington where he learned that his next assignment was to be aide and flag lieutenant to the Commander, South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force. On 15 June 1942, Wintle received his promotion to lieutenant commander and, four days later, reported for duty in his new assignment in the South Pacific.
Lt. Comdr. Wintle served under Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan, Chief of Staff to the Commander, South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force, through the early months of the bitter struggle for Guadalcanal in late 1942. Late in October 1942, when Rear Admiral Callaghan went to sea as the commander of a cruiser-destroyer force, Wintle joined him in his flagship, heavy cruiser SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), as a member of his staff.
On the night of 12 and 13 November, Callaghan's force met a Japanese raiding force built around battleships HIEI and KIRISHIMA. During the confused melee off Savo Island, SAN FRANCISCO suffered a terrific pounding from enemy ships and briefly lost power completely. At that point, several Japanese salvos scored on her superstructure, obliterating her flag and navigating bridges. All but one member of the admiral's staff were killed, and Lt. Comdr. Wintle was among the casualties.
For this sacrifice, Wintle was awarded the Navy Cross, posthumously…
Wintle's remains were buried at sea, but his widow, before her death, was able to toss a wreath in his honor in Ironbottom Sound for a National Geographic Special.
In November 2012, he was added to the Louisiana Military Hall of Fame.
From Hall of Valor:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Jack William Wintle (NSN: 0-71345), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession on the Staff of the Commander, South Pacific Force, serving on board the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), during an engagement with Japanese naval forces near Savo Island on the night of 12 - 13 November, 1942. On this occasion the force to which Lieutenant Commander Wintle was attached engaged at close quarters and defeated a superior enemy force, inflicting heavy damage upon them and preventing the accomplishment of their intended mission. This daring and intrepid attack, brilliantly executed, led to a great victory for his country's forces. By his indomitable fighting spirit, expert seamanship, and gallant devotion to duty, Lieutenant Commander Wintle contributed largely to the success of the battle and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 313 (April 1943)
Action Date: November 12 - 13, 1942
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Staff of the Commander
Regiment: South Pacific Force
Division: U.S.S. San Francisco (CA-38)
USS Wintle (DE 25) was named for Jack. A prior ship had also been named for him, but the ship was immediately transferred to the British.
The LCDR Jack W. Wintle Award at Tulane ROTC is "presented to the senior navy option midshipman who demonstrates excellence in military character."