Charlevoix County Veteran of the Month Bill Sturgell

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Bill Sturgell

The “Veteran of the Month” for November 2016 is Bernard Edgar “Bill” Sturgell who was born March 5th, 1924 in East Jordan, Michigan.

He graduated from East Jordan High School in the class of 1942 and on March 5th, 1943, in Detroit, Michigan, Sturgell enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.

 

Following Basic Training, where he qualified Sharpe Shooter with the Rifle on May 6th, 1943 and Bayonet on May 12th, 1943, he departed the USA on January 6th, 1944 arriving in the South Pacific Theater of Operations on January 31st, 1944 and was assigned to an Amphibious Motor Transport Unit moving Marines from their Transport Ships to the beaches of the islands they were invading.

During one invasion in the Marshall Islands, seven or eight amphibious landing craft, loaded with Marines, were hit by a tidal wave causing their boats to sink with heavy loss of life, but Sturgell was able to swim, along with twelve other Marines, to a pier where they were rescued.

Sturgell participating in action against the enemy at the Marshall Islands until February 14th, 1944 and at Guam, Marianas Islands, from July 21st, 1944 to August 20th, 1944 when he departed the Pacific Theater of Operations returning to the USA and was stationed at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois.

On December 5th, 1945, at the Marine Separation Center, Great Lakes, Illinois, Sturgell received an Honorable Discharge having attained the Non-Commissioned Officer Rank of Corporal and received the following decorations, citations and campaign awards:

The National Defense Service Medal; The South Pacific Theater Campaign Medal and The Good Conduct Medal.

Sturgell returned home going to work at General Motors Corporation in Pontiac, Michigan.

On April 4th, 1946, in Boyne City, Michigan, Sturgell married Helen M. Munson and went to work for The East Jordan and Southern Railroad until its closure in 1962.

He then worked as an agent in The R.A. Campbell Insurance Agency in East Jordan until his retirement in 1986.

Sturgell enjoyed playing golf and he frequently enjoyed a bad round of golf.

He was a member of the East Jordan United Methodist Church, The American Legion Post 227 in East Jordan, a past member of The East Jordan Rotary Club and Lions Club.

He was an active member of the Charlevoix Masonic Lodge No.282and was a Past Worshipful Master. On October 29th, 2014 Bernard Edgar “Bill” Sturgell answered the final call and is being honored by his wife Helen, his children James, Brian, Bruce, Mary Jo and their families.

To honor a veteran, call the program chairman at (231) 588-6067 or on Tuesdays call (231) 582-7811 between 3:30-8:30 p.m.

The ceremony may be witnessed on the first Thursday of each month at The American Legion Post located on the corner of South Lake and Main streets in Boyne City, Mich. at 6:15 p.m.