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Honoring Our War Heroes

Two related Indiana war veterans
to be buried at Veterans Cemetery

Manley Winkley died in action in WWII;
his nephew fought in Korean War

(August 2013) – They were two boys growing up in Indiana, Manley F. Winkley and Lyman M. Winkley. Officially, uncle and nephew, separated by only three years, the two were in reality best friends doing everything together. So it was no surprise when Lyman followed Manley into military service during World War II.
Manley’s untimely death, at age 20, separated the best friends for the last 70 years. This month, they will be rejoined.
On Aug. 24, a military escort will bring the bodies of Manley and Lyman from the Bond-Mitchell Funeral Home in Bedford, Ind., to the Indiana Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Madison, Ind. At 1 p.m. the two men will receive full military honors, then be buried side by side. The public is encouraged to attend to pay respects to these American heroes.

Marines

Photo provided

U.S. Marines storm Japanese
positions during the invasion of
the Tarawa Atoll at the Gilbert
Islands in the Pacific in
November 1943.

“We would love to see people lining the route across Hwy. 46 and down Hwy. 7, waving flags, and giving these men a show of respect,” says Alan Burnham, superintendent of the cemetery. Those who attend the service will gain a new appreciation for the sacrifices of these men as well as all our troops.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Manley immediately enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps’ 2nd Division. His division was dispatched to secure the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands as part of the military campaign in the Pacific. Underestimating the number of Japanese troops holding the island, the invading marines met heavy resistance. In three days of fighting, more than 1,000 Marines perished with another 2,000 wounded. Manley was among those who died.
Mass graves were dug as the fighting went on. After the island was secured, troops significantly expanded the airstrip to serve American planes. This necessitated moving the graves, but in the haste of construction, records were lost. When the United States tried to bring the soldiers’ home for burial after the war, many were never located. Manley’s body was among those lost.
On hearing of Manley’s death, Lyman lied about his age (he was then 16) and joined the Marine Corps on Dec. 11, 1944, to take his uncle’s place. Lyman served to the end of World War II, and then he reenlisted for the Korean War. Lyman’s service in his uncle’s stead honored both men.

Chosin

Photo provided

U.S. Marines take a short break
near Yudam-ni before preparing to break out of the Chosin Reservoir perimeter on Nov. 29, 1950.

We didn’t know until dad’s death that he was a hero,” says Sharon Fitzgerald, Lyman’s daughter. “As we planned the funeral, the military showed up to give honors and we found out he had two purple hearts from his service in Korea. He never talked about any of that, so it was quite a surprise.”
Lyman was one of the “Chosin Few” – a name given to the survivors of one of the most significant battles of the Korean War. According to Fitzgerald’s husband, Steve, “The Marines were holding the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea when Chinese soldiers swarmed over the border to attack. The Chinese cut off supply lines leaving the Marines stranded. They fought both the Chinese and the North Korean winter – in their summer uniforms. Their retreat has become the textbook example of how to withdraw from combat. Yet, most of the soldiers still died because of the harsh weather. Lyman was one of the few who came home.” 
After being honorably discharged in 1951, Lyman married Lula Stewart and together they raised eight children. He worked as a heavy equipment engineer after the war, spending his free time fishing and camping.
“He passed away in 1998 at age 80. We had him cremated, but the family could never decide where to bury his remains,” says Sharon. That question was answered with the discovery of Manley’s remains in April, 2013.

Manley Winkley

Manley Winkley

The Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command team, a group that travels the world searching for the remains of American soldiers to bring home, was alerted by residents of Tarawa that recent digging uncovered an old grave. The grave held the remains of three American soldiers – one of whom was Manley.
“Our family always thought he was buried in a mass grave in Pearl Harbor,” says Sharon. “But when my brother (Bill Winkley) tried to find the grave on his vacation this summer, he couldn’t.”

Lyman Winkley
Lyman Winkley

Just days after Bill Winkley’s return from Hawaii, the team contacted him to say that Manley’s remains had been found. “We could have buried him in Arlington Cemetery, but we decided we wanted to bring him home. The Veterans Cemetery in Madison is so beautiful. Plus, Mr. Burnham said my uncle and father could be buried side by side, and that seemed perfect,” says Sharon.
When asked how recent events have impacted the family, Sharon notes that the recovery of Manley’s remains has brought the extended family closer through planning the service. She looks forward to deepening those relationships.
Steve said he hopes that those reading the article, or attending the service are reminded of the sacrifice of all soldiers. “If this touches you, reach out to a living hero – someone who’s come home but doesn’t have a job or needs help getting a house. You can honor these men by giving to the heroes around you,” he says.

• The public is invited to attend the ceremony. For more information, call Alan Burnham at 812-273-9220.

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