Leonard F. Wing
|Leonard F. Wing|
Leonard F. Wing
November 12, 1893|
|Died||December 16, 1945 (aged 52)
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1918-1945|
|Commands held||172nd Infantry Regiment
86th Infantry Brigade
68th Field Artillery Brigade
43rd Infantry Division ("Winged Victory")
|Battles/wars||World War I
World War II
Pacific Theater of Operations
|Awards||Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Presidential Unit Citation
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Chairman, Vermont Republican Party
Executive Assistant, Governor Stanley C. Wilson
Leonard Wing was born in Ira, Vermont on November 12, 1893. He graduated from Rutland High School in 1910, and then attended Norwich University. Afterwards Wing studied law, attaining admission to the bar in 1917.
World War I Military Service
Wing enlisted in the Army for World War I, served at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, Fort Gordon, Georgia, and Fort Dix, New Jersey. Wing completed officer training, received a commission and attained the rank of First Lieutenant. He served as the supply officer for the 2nd Infantry Replacement Regiment until the end of the war, and was discharged at Fort Dix in December, 1918.
Post-World War I
Wing was active in Republican party politics, and served on the state Republican Committee, of which he was Chairman from 1925 to 1929. He also attended numerous state and national party conventions, including serving as a delegate to the 1940 Republican national convention.
In 1919 Wing joined the Vermont National Guard's 172nd Infantry Regiment as a Second Lieutenant. He rose through the ranks and in 1933 received promotion to Colonel as the 172nd's commander. That year he earned statewide praise from business owners and condemnation from laborers after leading his regiment to break a strike of Barre granite workers.
In 1939 Wing was elected to the Norwich University Board of Trustees.
World War II
In 1941 the 43rd Division mobilized for service in the Pacific Theater. In 1942 Wing was named commander of the division's 68th Field Artillery Brigade, and later that year he was appointed the 43rd's Assistant Division Commander. Wing became commander of the division as a Major General in 1943. He successfully rebuffed attempts to replace him with a regular Army officer, as was done in most divisions, making him one of two National Guard officers to command a combat division in World War II. The other National Guard officer who commanded a combat division, Robert S. Beightler of the 37th Infantry Division, transferred to the regular Army in 1946, which is likely the source of the claim that Wing was the only National Guard officer to command a combat division in World War II. Wing's success at keeping his command was especially noteworthy because he had been diagnosed with heart disease, and could have asked to be relieved on medical grounds.
The 43rd Division, named "Winged Victory" in honor of its commander, saw action at Guadalcanal, Rendova, New Georgia, New Guinea and Luzon. It played a vital role in the capture of the Ipo Dam outside Manila, Philippines, taking the city's main water source intact and breaking Japanese resistance, an action for which it received the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
Post-World War II
After returning home at the end of 1945, Wing spent time in the hospital to recuperate from pneumonia and other ailments. He took part in victory parades throughout New England in November and December, and was elected President of the Vermont Bar Association. He was considered a likely candidate for Governor, and if incumbent Mortimer Proctor adhered to tradition and left office after one term, Wing would likely have won the Republican nomination. In a state where only Republicans held statewide office from the 1850s to the 1960s, Wing would almost certainly have been elected Governor in 1946.
Death and political ramifications
As a result of Wing's death, Ernest W. Gibson, Jr., an officer on Wing's staff during the war, ran for the Republican nomination, defeated Governor Proctor, and won the 1946 general election.
Awards and Honors
Leonard F. Wing was married twice. In 1919 he married Bernice Kidder (1894-1923), with whom he had a son. In 1924 Wing married Margaret Dorothy Clark (or Clarke) (1897-1960), with whom he had a son and a daughter.
Leonard F. Wing, Jr. (1923–2005), also a Norwich University graduate, and World War II veteran who was taken prisoner by the Germans and later escaped. He became a prominent attorney who served as President of the Vermont Bar Association. The younger Leonard Wing served in the Vermont National Guard, attaining the rank of Brigadier General as commander of the 86th Armored Brigade in the late 1960s. In 1991 he endowed the Major General Leonard F. Wing Scholarship at Norwich University.
Patricia Margaret Wing was born in Rutland in 1926.
The Wing family remained prominent in Vermont legal circles, including Leonard Wing, Jr.'s daughter, Joan Loring Wing, (1948–2009), an attorney in Rutland who served as President of the Vermont Bar Association.
- The Fish Family in England and America, Lester Warren Fish, 1948, page 200
- The History of the 43rd Infantry Division, 1941-1945, by Joseph E. Zimmer, fourth edition, 2008, pages 173 to 174
- Official Army National Guard Register, published by the National Guard Bureau, 1922, page 254
- Volume 129 (1925), Atlantic Reporter: Cases Argued and Determined in the Courts of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, published by West Publishing Company, St. Paul, MN
- The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 35 (1967), page 190
- Newspaper article, Recall Troops Who Get Tough, Spokane Daily Chronicle, May 12, 1933
- Vermont Legislative Directory, printed by the Vermont Secretary of State, 1933, page 540
- The Star That Set: The Vermont Republican Party, 1854–1974, by Samuel B. Hand, 2003, page 142
- Report of proceedings of the annual meeting, published by Vermont Bar Association, Volume 39 (1945), page 41
- Report of proceedings of the annual meeting, published by Vermont Bar Association, Volume 40 (1946), page 83
- Guard Wars: The 28th Infantry Division in World War II, by Michael E. Weaver, 2010, page 115. This work indicates that 18 of 29 mobilizing divisions in 1941 were National Guard organizations, and that active Army planners believed replacing National Guard division commanders with active duty officers was necessary.
- The Vermont Encyclopedia, by John J. Duffy, Samuel B. Hand, and Ralph H. Orth, 2003, page 14. The authors note in their introduction that Wing was the only National Guard officer to remain in command of a National Guard division in World War II.
- World War II History, 152nd Field Artillery Association web site, accessed February 25, 2011. The authors of the World War II history of 152nd Field Artillery Battalion, a 43rd Division unit, note that Leonard F. Wing was the only National Guard officer to command a World War II division.
- The Vermont Story: A History of the People of the Green Mountain State, 1749-1949, by Earle Williams Newton, Vermont Historical Society, 1949, page 255. The author notes that General Wing was the only National Guard officer to command a World War II division.
- Ohl, John Kennedy (2001). Minuteman: The Military Career of General Robert S. Beightler. Lynne Rienner Publishers. pp. xi. ISBN 1-55587-923-3. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
- Newspaper article, Beightler Nominated, Christian Science Monitor, July 27, 1946
- Newspaper article, Senate OKs Beightler, Baltimore Sun, July 28, 1946
- Newspaper article, Beightler Confirmed, by Associated Press, Toldeo Blade, August 3, 1946
- Newspaper article, Lausche Names Three As National Guard Generals, Youngstown Vindicator, September 5, 1946
- Magazine article, President and Soldiers Pay Gen. Wing Tribute, The Rattle of Theta Chi, published twice a year by Theta Chi Fraternity, April, 1946, page 5
- Tribute to Leonard F. Wing, Jr., Speech, U.S. Senator James M. Jeffords, May 11, 2005
- Newspaper article, Munda Field Capture Was Work Of 43d, Hartford Courant, December 10, 1943
- Newspaper article, Yank Artillery Turned on Baguio, Deseret News, (Salt Lake City, Utah), March 17, 1945
- Newspaper article, US Paratroops Seize Southern Luzon Airfields, Los Angeles Times, April 7, 1945
- Newspaper article, Dam Captured In Philippines Fight, Palm Beach Post, May 13, 1945
- Newspaper article, Guns Roar Salute For Gen. Wing, Hartford Courant, October 10, 1945
- The Yanks are coming: the American invasion of New Zealand, 1942-1944, by Harry Bioletti, 1989, page 135
- Newspaper article, Maj. Gen. Leonard Wing Ill, New York Times, October 18, 1945
- Newspaper article, Maj. Gen. Wing Improves, New York Times, October 23, 1945
- Norwalkers to Attend Gen. Wing's Reception, Newspaper article, The Norwalk Hour, November 27, 1945
- Newspaper article, Gen. Wing Praises The 43rd Division, Norwalk Hour, December 3, 1945
- Newspaper article, Hildreth, Gen. Wing Arrive Here Today, Lewiston Daily Sun, December 7, 1945
- Combined Arms in Battle Since 1939, edited by Roger J. Spiller, 1992, pages 252 to 256
- Facts on File Yearbook, published by Facts on File, Inc., 1945, Volume 22, page 415
- Into the shadows furious: the brutal battle for New Georgia, Brian Altobello, 2000, page 229
- World War II in the Philippines: Manila, Bicolandia, and the Tagalog provinces, published by Veterans Federation of the Philippines, 1993
- Pictorial history of the Philippines, by Pedrito Reyes, 1953, page 402
- The Crucible: An Autobiography by Colonel Yay, Filipina American Guerrilla, by Yay Panlilio, 2009, page 308
- The Vermont story: a history of the people of the Green Mountain State, 1749-1949, by Earle Williams Newton, 1949, page 255
- The Vermont Political Tradition and Those Who Helped Make It, by William T. Doyle, 1992 edition
- Newspaper article, Obituary, General Leonard F. Wing, Hartford Courant, December 20, 1945
- Newspaper article, High Ranking Officers Die, Berkeley (California) Daily Gazette, December 21, 1945
- Newspaper article, Body of Gen. Wing to Lie In State In Rutland, Vt., Hartford Courant, December 21, 1945
- Magazine article, Milestones, Time magazine, December 31, 1945
- Newspaper article, Sen. LaFollette to Try for New term in Senate, Associated Press, published in St. Petersburg Times, August 13, 1946
- Newspaper article, Governor of Vermont Denied Renomination, Los Angeles Times, August 14, 1946
- Newspaper article, Gibson Hits at Stand of Party Leader, The Christian Science Monitor, November 12, 1946
- Newspaper article, Posthumous Citation For General Wing, Hartford Courant, January 22, 1946
- Alphabetical Index of Recipients of Major Military Awards, Military Times, Hall of Valor web site, accessed January 30, 2011
- Leonard F. Wing, Sr. page, World War 2 Awards.com web site, accessed January 30, 2011
- The Rattle of Theta Chi, published twice a year by Theta Chi Fraternity, April, 1948
- The Rattle of Theta Chi, published by Theta Chi Fraternity, Volumes 31-36, 1942, page 6
- Newspaper article, Eisenhower Says U.S. Disarmament Must be Limited, By William M. Blair, New York Times, June 10, 1946
- Vermont Marriage Certificate, Leonard Wing and Bernice Kidder
- Vermont Death Certificate, Bernice Kidder Wing
- Vermont Marriage Certificate, Leonard F. Wing and Margaret Clark
- US Census Entry, Leonard F. Wing family, 1930
- Vermont Death Record, Margaret Wing
- Newspaper article, Obituary, Leonard F. Wing, Jr., Rutland Herald, May 2, 2005
- Norwich University Alumni Association Newsletter, List of Scholarships for Vermont Students
- Vermont Birth Certificate, Bruce Clark Wing
- Vermont Death Certificate, Bruce Clark Wing
- Social Security Death Index Entry, Bruce Clark Wing
- Newspaper article, Obituary, Joan Loring Wing, Rutland Herald, December 9, 2009
- Annual Report, published by Vermont Bar Association, 2008