My Dad, MSgt. Marion A. Wilhelm, died in 1958 when I was ten from a heart attack at age 38. At the time of his death, he was the stenographer for the commander at Sandia Base at Albuquerque, N.M., a top secret, atomic weapons research, nuclear weapons storage location. In WWII he was sent to Saipan, Tinian, and other Pacific islands. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his work there. The citations, in part, reads; as “Chief Clerk of the Operations Section of a Corps Artillery Headquarters”, he voluntarily created reports “of all artillery fires within the entire Corps Artillery, which at times consisted of thirteen field artillery battalions” that were used “for further placing devastating field artillery and naval gunfire upon the enemy, and for making recommendations for future operations”.
Not knowing the significance of such award, I received help from several vets from a Vet blog. They said that my Dad did some really important work. One guy said that as a clerk, he helped win the war on those two islands. (Every time I think about what he did, my pride in him becomes so very overwhelming that I revert back to that ten year old little boy, and the tears flow.) The citation was signed by JOHN R. HODGE, Major General, U. S. Army, Commanding, whom you can find in Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. Soon I’m to fly in a B-17. To honor my Dad, I’m going to wear the uniform he would have worn with the ribbons he was awarded during his Army career. My hope is to report that flight to Tally One, a picture and video tribute to my Dad and all the men who died flying a B-17.
Submitted by Phil Wilhelm