• 79°

Wikle served in North Africa during World War II

Note: This article concludes a series to honor the seven Madison residents who died in military service during World War II. These men are memorialized at the Wall of Heroes in Captain Jesse Ollie Wikle Jr. Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Madison.

MADISON – Not one but two threats to humanity’s safety surfaced between 1939 and 1945.

“Initially, Americans were tired of war having just gone through the First World War and wished to not get involved. Gradually, attitudes changed and with the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941,” Richard Blanton said. Blanton serves as Historian for Madison American Legion, Post 229.

“With Adolf Hitler’s subsequent declaration of war on the United States, the country was pulled into the conflict willing or not,” Blanton said.

In America, droves of young men and women flocked to enlist into one of the Services to fight for their country. Others were drafted.

In the City of Madison and the country around it, thousands of her sons and daughters flocked to the colors. Most came home safely; some suffered the scars or war seen and unseen. Sadly, a few paid the ultimate sacrifice.

One of these brave individuals was Jesse Ollie Wikle Jr. who served in North Africa during World War II in the U.S. Army Air Force. He was born in 1920 to Dr. Jessie Ollie Wikle Sr. and Eva L. Ripley Wikle of Madison.

Wikle Jr. enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet at Maxwell Field, Montgomery County, Alabama on April 26, 1941.

He was assigned to 340th Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group stationed in North Africa. He was awarded the U.S. Army Air Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster.

On Feb. 1, 1943, Wikle’s aircraft was shot down in Tunisia. He was listed as ‘Killed in Action.’

Wikle was buried in the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia. A cenotaph marker also memorializes him in Huntsville’s Maple Hill Cemetery.

The Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Madison on Front Street is named after Capt. Wikle, Blanton said.

During World War II, 16,112,566 Americans serviced in the uniforms of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army or U.S. Coast Guard, Blanton said. Battle deaths reached 291,557. Another 113,842 were listed as other ‘Deaths in Service’ (Non-Theater).

The Veterans Administration estimated 670,846 service members received non-mortal wounds.

Madison

Trash Pandas continue streak over Smokies

James Clemens High School

Jerry Zheng codes platform for Alabama Consortium for Technology in Education

Bob Jones High School

American Legion’s Memorial Day Ceremony set for May 31

Madison

Pitching, power lead Trash Pandas to 7-1 win

Madison

Colee, DeFazio and Howard honored as city employees of the year

James Clemens High School

Like to try a different sport? James Clemens Girls Lacrosse Team has openings

Madison

Rotary spearheads efforts in habitat for Monarch Butterfly Project

Madison

Heritage’s Chander, Nuzman, Gowder and Rajput shine at state science fair

Digital Version

Digital version of The Madison Record – May 12, 2021

Madison

Professional baseball returns to North Alabama, Trash Pandas fall 4-3 in home opener

Professional baseball returns to North Alabama, Trash Pandas fall 4-3 in home opener

Bob Jones High School

Joshua Lin, Nikhita Mudium named U.S. Presidential Scholars

Madison

Trash Pandas play home opener Tonight

Madison

Rocket City defeated 7-1 in Chattanooga

Business

Trash Pandas Underway

Harvest

Sergeant Major Bobby Lee completed several deployments to Middle East

Madison

Wild comeback leads Trash Pandas to first win

Madison

Emergency Water Outage – Highland Drive

Harvest

Moore performs in ‘Tinker Bell,’ works with models and Sparkman photographers

Madison

School board expected to vote on elementary rezoning plan tonight

Madison

Trash Pandas drop inaugural game 6-1 in Chattanooga

James Clemens High School

Chase Lynn’s work on Heritage Church campus secures his Eagle rank

Madison

Madison County Sheriff’s Office charges man for making school threats

Digital Version

Digital version of The Madison Record – May 5, 2021

Madison

New traffic signal at County Line Road and Old Highway 20 set for activation

x