Full Name: Rolia Harvey Whitinger
Birth Place: Genoa, Ottawa County, Ohio.
Death Place: Harlingen, Cameron County, Texas.
Parents: Rolia Alfred and Nellie Blanche Whitinger.
Date of Birth: June 26, 1916
Date of Death: October 2, 2001
Role: He was a veteran of World War II during his 10 months and 6 days in action in the European Theater.
Achievement: He received the Bronze Star, the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces. He died October 2, 2001 and was interred 7 years later, on August 15, 2008 in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas. Whitinger was one of 78 victims of a crime that was investigated by the FBI and discovered to have taken place on the campus of UTMB in Galveston, Texas.
Early Age of Rolia Whitinger
Rolia Alfred and Nellie Blanche Whitinger who were of German and Dutch descent. Whitinger’s ancestor, Franz Weidinger, came to the American colonies in 1754. It’s assumed through family tradition, that Franz Weidinger is a distant kinsman to Anton Weidinger. The Weidinger name was Anglicized to”Whitinger”upon appearance to the harborage of Philadelphia where Franz Weidinger took an pledge of constancy to King George II of Great Britain before the mayor of Philadelphia, Charles Willing. Family tradition states that the name”Rolia” was firstly Rollie (a variation of the name Raleigh) but was changed in public record due to a quill pen. Family tradition also has it that Rolia Alfred Whitinger, was the namesake of Rolla, Missouri. Probate court records from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Abraham Harvey Myers (the forefather of Rolia Harvey Whitinger), listed Rolia Harvey Whitinger as”Rolla Harvey Whitinger”. Cousins of Whitinger mentioned in the probate case of Abraham Harvey Myers were notified by publication in the Rolla, Missouri area. Whitinger grew up on a ranch outside of Genoa, Ohio. His father, Rolia Alfred Whitinger was the son of Isaac Whitinger and Huldah Van Dyke. His mama, Nellie Blanche Myers, failed in April 1920. Her parents were Abram Harvey Myers and Ellen Jane Wiles. Whitinger was the second of three children. His sisters were, Virginia June and Mary Ellen Whitinger. He graduated from Clay-Genoa High School on May 23, 1935.
Rolia Harvey Whitinger worked as a ranch- hand on his father’s ranch which comported of 150 acres (0.61 km2), planting, cultivating and gathering tomatoes, soy sap, sludge, oats, and sugar beets using a platoon of nags until he was instated into theU.S. Army on March 31, 1944, at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He was 27 times old. (6) Whitinger was an Automatic Trapshooter (746) and performed duties with CompanyF., 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division in the European Theatre of Operations. He loaded aimed and fired a Browning Automatic Rifle to give power support to politic units, in capturing and holding enemy positions. Whitinger was part of the 2nd Infantry Division which came ashore on Omaha Beach on D Day 1 June 7, 1944. He saw heavy combat across France and helped hold the line atSt. Vith during the Battle of the Bulge. For his gallantry in World War II he was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. According to Whitinger’s Separation Qualification Record, he was in Infantry Basic Training (521) as a Private from March 31, 1944 to May 1944 After training in Wales from May 1944 to June 1944, the 2nd Infantry Division crossed the channel to land on Omaha Beach on D Day plus 1, on 7 June 1944, nearSt. Laurent-sur-Mer. Whitinger helped the Division liberate Trévières, on June 10 and came to secureSt. Lô and also moved west to Brest, which eventually surrendered on September 18, 1944 after 39 days of vicious fighting.
Whitinger, as part of the 2nd Division in September 1944, moved to protective positions atSt. Vith, Belgium. From positions aroundSt. Vith, the Second was ordered, on 11 December 1944, to attack and seize the Roer River heads. He recalled in his notes of spending relatively some time in Siegfried pillboxes and that the bank from the fires to stay warm was atrocious. He recalled that after the bombing ofSt. Vith, that in what was left of the edifice there, someone had placed a small cross on the balcony. The German Ardennes offensive forced the division to withdraw to protective positions near Elsenborn Ridge, where the German drive was halted. In February 1945 the Division reacquired lost ground, seized Gemund. Reaching the Rhine 9 March, the 2d advanced south to guard the Remagen Bridge- also known as the Ludendorff Bridge, 12 – 20 March. He recalled a different take on the fall of the Remagen Bridge.”I witnessed an occasion of two P-38 fighters (Lockheed P-38 Lightning) and a stuka dive bomber. The fighters were after the Remagen Bridge and rammed together. It sounded like a bunch of drum barrels rattling. The boys bailed out of fighters. The stuka succeeded at bombing the ground taking it out. Meanwhile the wreckage of the aeroplanes was coming towards me and the wreckage suddenly stopped and came crashing straight down. When the wreckage hit the ground it blew up with a loud explosion.”
Whitinger suffered frompost-traumatic stress complaint (PTSD) after his return from the war. He was reportedly agonized by wakefulness, bouts of depression, and agonies related to his multitudinous battles.