Lieutenant Commander Jack W. Wintle was killed in action near the Solomon Islands November 14, 1942. Commander Wintle came to Tulane University in the summer of 1940 as one of the first officers at Tulane’s Naval ROTC unit.
During his two years at Tulane he gained the respect and admiration of the staff and Midshipmen as well as the faculty and student body of the University.
A 1932 graduate of the US Naval Academy, Wintle served on the USS California, the USS Bushnell and the USS Perkins before returning to the Academy for post graduate engineering studies.
In 1939 the USS Dupont (DD-152) was recommissioned for duty on the Neutrality Patrol with Lieutenant Wintle as engineering officer. The Neutrality Patrol was an air and sea screen of the east coast initiated due to the growing European conflict.
After service at Tulane University, Lt. Comdr. Wintle served under Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan, Chief of Staff to the Commander, South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force, through the early months of the bitter struggle for Guadalcanal in late 1942. Late in October 1942, when Rear Admiral Callaghan went to sea as the commander of a cruiser-destroyer force, Wintle joined him in his flagship, heavy cruiser SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), as a member of his staff.
On the night of 12 and 13 November, Callaghan’s force met a Japanese raiding force built around battleships HIEI and KIRISHIMA. During the confused melee off Savo Island, SAN FRANCISCO suffered a terrific pounding from enemy ships and briefly lost power completely. At that point, several Japanese salvos scored on her superstructure, obliterating her flag and navigating bridges. All but one member of the admiral’s staff were killed, and Lt. Comdr. Wintle was among the casualties.
For this sacrifice, Wintle was awarded the Navy Cross, posthumously…
Wintle’s remains were buried at sea, but his widow, before her death, was able to toss a wreath in his honor in Ironbottom Sound for a National Geographic Special.
In November 2012, he was added to the Louisiana Military Hall of Fame.