Bellefontaine Examiner

Switch to desktop

Rushsylvania Lions receive mementos of heroic soldier

A donation to the Rushsylvania Lions Club is slated to be shared with the community.

Club member John Putman presented a number of items he received from the late Bob Kimmel of Rushsylvania. The items belonged to his brother, Rushsylvania native Lt. Charles J. Kimmel, who made the ultimate sacrifice while leading his platoon in hand-to-hand combat with the 1st Marine Corps Division during the Battle of Guadalcanal on the Solomon Islands in World War II.

Charles-J--Kimmel USS Charles J Kimmel

LEFT: Lt. Charles Kimmel in uniform after he enlisted in the US Marine Corps. (PHOTO COURTESY MICHEAL GIBBS) RIGHT: The Rudderow class destroyer USS Charles Kimmel, which is named after a Rushsylvania native who lost his life in hand-to-hand combat at Gaudalcanal, is seen in operation in this U.S. Navy photo. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: John Putman, right, presents Rushsylvania Lions Club President Micheal Gibbs with the flag flown over the USS Charles Kimmel at the Lions Club meeting Friday. (PHOTO COURTESY MICHEAL GIBBS)

Mr. Putman shared a program about Lt. Kimmel, whose courage and bravery in this bayonet charge posthumously earned him the Navy Cross in 1943.

A 1936 graduate of Rushsylvania High School, Lt. Kimmel graduated from The Ohio State University and enlisted in the Marines in 1941. He served in many areas and positions before being discharged to accept a commission of second lieutenant in 1942.

Lt. Kimmel’s memory was honored with a Rudderow class destroyer escort named after him.

According to the Department of the Navy’s Naval History & Heritage Command, the USS Charles Kimmel was laid down Dec. 1, 1943. The destroyer was launched Jan. 15, 1944, sponsored by his mother, Mrs. C.J. Kimmel. It was commissioned April 20, 1944, and served in both the Atlantic and Pacific during the war. The ship was decommissioned Jan. 15, 1947, and received one battle star for World War II service.

The items Mr. Putman presented to the club included an encased flag that flew on the destroyer, a letter inviting Lt. Kimmel’s mother to christen the ship, a picture of Lt. Kimmel’s mother christening the ship, and a picture of the ship being launched.

The club plans to display the items in the Rushsylvania Lions community room of Rushsylvania next to the WWII Honor Roll Memorial.

“I just thought that a guy who gave his life for his country should be remembered and that this flag deserves to be displayed to the community to honor him,” Mr. Putman said.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn