PR1 (DV) Jerry L Winingham was born on January 1st, 1938, in Bowie, Texas. Shortly after graduating high school in 1956, he began his 12-year Navy career at the Naval Air Technical Training Unit in Lakehurst, NJ. He spent the next two years with the Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron ONE [HELANTISUBRON] in Jacksonville, FL. After serving 4 years, he was honorably discharged. He briefly attended Arlington State College in Texas before returning to active duty.
On October 13, 1960, he reenlisted and served the next two years in Rota, Spain. In 1962, he was relocated to Pensacola, FL for Underwater Swimmer School training and later qualified as a SCUBA(EOD) Diver in 1963. He continued onto Indian Head, MD to further his EOD training. On February 4, 1964, he again reenlisted in the Navy for an additional six years. He graduated from EOD School and was qualified as an Explosive Ordnance Technician in July 1964, NAVSCOLEOD, Indian Head, MD. In August of 1964, he began serving a three-year period aboard the USS Pine Island (AV-12) where he was the Petty Officer in charge of SASS, EOD man and Second Class Diver. During these years, he also served temporary active duties aboard the USS Sunnadin ATA- 197, USS Tarawa (CVS-40), USS Leyte (CV-32) and USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39). He proudly wore the navy Gold “E” uniform insignia for the USS Pine Island (AV-12) Battle Efficiency competition (1965).
Jerry was on his 2nd deployment to Vietnam when he was called home in early December 1967 for the birth of his son. He returned to Vietnam on December 15 to resume regular duties with EODMUPAC, team 15. On February 22, 1968, in the I Corps TAOR supporting NSA & the 1st Amtrak Battalion, 3rd Marine Amphibious Force (3rd MAF) at USMC Camp Kistler, an incoming 130mm enemy artillery had scattered ordnance over the impact area. This left extremely hazardous conditions including leaking WP (white phosphorous), partially exploded shells and fuses. The battery was placed out of commission while the EOD team was tasked with the job of disposing all hazardous ordnance, rendering the area safe. This had to be done with the known risk of exposure to incoming enemy artillery, as readying this gun to operational status was a priority. When they resumed operations, another round impacted close to Jerry. He was immediately flown to the battalion aid station in Dong Ha via medevac helicopter for
treatment, but his wounds were too severe, and he succumbed to his injuries. Jerry is buried in the Nocona Cemetery in Nocona, TX.
PR1 (DV) Jerry L Winingham’s awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Good conduct Medal w/ 2 Bronze Service Stars, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960’s device and the Vietnamese Military Merit Medal. Unit awards include the Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm leaf, Navy Meritorious and Presidential Unit citations.
Survivors: Jerry is survived by his (3) sisters, Margie Grant, Martha Short & Jane
Prather, his children, Michelle Schrider and David Winingham, his (6) grandchildren -Stephanie Bender, Michael Schrider, Alison Winingham, Connor Winingham, Liam Winingham & Jacob Winingham. His wife, Virginia (Dee), passed away on September 3, 2005.
A very special thank you to CWO Larry S. Hart, USN (EOD), retired for providing his
first-hand account of Jerry’s last moments.
Bio and photo were kindly provided by Jerry’s son, David E. Winingham.