2nd Lt. Edward Garfield Winger
2nd Lt. Edward G. Winger was born
February 4, 1921, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to Bernhardt Winger & Grace
Wilber-Winger. It is known that his mother married Roy Perry and his
mother, Ed, and his brother, Richard, moved to 119 South
6th Avenue in Maywood, Illinois. He was the half brother of Esther
and Marshall Perry. He graduated from Proviso Township High
School on May 26, 1939.
In 1937, while he was still in high school, Ed joined the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Tank Company. After high school, he worked as a clerk for the Northern Illinois Public Service Company. In October, 1940, he re-enlisted in the tank company as it prepared for federal duty.
Upon arrival at Fort Knox, Kentucky, the name of the company was changed to Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion. At Fort Knox, Ed was trained as a tank driver. It was while the company was at Ft. Knox that Ed wrote a series of articles for The Maywood Herald about the training. These articles were very popular in Maywood. In the late summer of 1941, Ed took part in more training in Louisiana in the form of maneuvers. After these maneuvers, the 192nd Tank Battalion learned that they had been selected for duty overseas.
Two weeks after arriving in the Philippine Islands, the men of the 192nd Tank Battalion found themselves involved in some of the first major tank to tank engagements. In the area north of Trails #5 and #7, in the Gayaegayan Region on the West Coast Sector of Bataan, Ed led his tanks against the Japanese on terrain not favorable for tanks. During this attack, his tanks knocked out several enemy machine guns and enabled friendly infantry to advance.
It was during this battle, that the Japanese used flamethrowers on Ed's tanks. This was the first time the Japanese used flamethrowers in World War II. Ed's crew was temporarily blinded and his tank ended up wedged between two trees. Ed and his crew managed to escape. His tank would later be recovered by B Company.
Making his way toward Filipino-American lines, Ed was shot by a Filipino Scout in his stomach and legs. The Scout mistook him as a German military advisor. At that time, a rumor was circulating, among the Filipino troops, that the Germans were providing the Japanese with observers. The Filipino Scout assumed that the soldier approaching him was German because he had blond hair.
After Ed was shot, Cpl. John Massimino carried Edward for three days in an attempt to get him to an aid station. By the time Ed reached the aid station, gangrene had developed in his wounds.
As Ed lay on the operating table, he asked Dr. Alvin Poweleit not to amputate his legs. He also asked the doctor to give his possessions to his girlfriend if he died. Edward died during surgery at the aid station. According to Dr. Poweleit, 2nd Lt. Edward G. Winger died on February 5, 1942, one day after his 21st birthday. His date of death is officially listed as February 9, 1942.
For his courage while under enemy fire and for leading his tanks against enemy flamethrowers, 2nd Lt. Edward G. Winger was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action in the area north of trails 5 and 7 along the west coast of Bataan during the period of 4 to 6 February, 1942.
2nd Lt. Edward Garfield Winger was buried in Plot D, Row 6, Grave 190, at the American Military Cemetery, outside of Manila in the Philippine Islands.