Coltrane Sherrill An American Hero

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Coltrane Caswell “C.C.” Sherrill age 94, of Union Baptist Road, Lenoir, passed away Monday, March 5, 2018, at Frye Regional Medical Center.  Although known as “C.C.,” a few called him “Tyke,” a nickname which he hated, but was more commonly known.

C.C. was born on 4 August 1923 only two days before Vice-President Calvin Coolidge became President passed away on 5 March 2018 at the age of 94 following a bout with leukemia.

C.C. Sherrill 94th Birthday - 4 Aug 2017 with neighbors Glenda and Carl Anderson
C.C’s. 94th Birthday – 4 Aug 2017 with neighbors Glenda and Carl Anderson

The Great Depression broke out in 1929 and lasted until 1941. C.C. was a product of those times, and they instilled in him many of its principals found in a 2011 issue of Business Insider entitled “10 Lessons From People Who Lived Through The Great Depression

grow your own; cash, not credit; if you have to, move on; keep morale high; know a deal when you see it; know a deal when you see it; stick together; “Tomorrow I could lose everything, but somehow I’m not afraid. I really am not.”

Kens Men - Stand in Front of their Plane the Lucky Lucille on 2 March 1944
Kens Men – Stand in Front of their Plane the Lucky Lucille on 2 March 1944

These principals lead to his WWII enlistment in the Army Air Force where he served as a radio operator in a B-24 bomber. He flew in many different planes and his last service in the air was aboard a plane know as Lucky Lucille.

Pictured in the above photo 3rdfrom right Staff Sargeant  Coltrane C. Sherrill, 2nd from right Staff Sergeant, and Nose gunner  Jack Matisoff of Pikeville, MD; 4th from right Delray Echo Hawk, Native American of the Osage Nation from Oklahoma.

Other unidentified crew members:  Julian Al Petty, John R. O’Neal Jr., Bob Lee, Bob Mason, Albert Richter, Jr., Lt. Jack Shainfine and Arthur Prent (?).

At one point the plane was shot down and the navigator was injured and could not perform his duties.  C.C. was the radio operator and knew nothing of navigation but pulled the navigator out his station in the nose of the plane.  He then took this position and zoomed in on a Japanese radio beacon.  The pilot flew under a cloud and the plane was able to land

Mr. Sherrill was retired from Catawba Valley Technical Institute, where he was a business and law instructor and was a member of Union Baptist Church.

Survivors include two sisters, Bessie Juanita “Nita” Sherrill Jones of White Plains, Maryland, and Shirley Sue Sherrill Branch of Lenoir.

C.C. was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army Air Force, flying over 300 combat hours in 51 combat missions in B-24 bombers. In 1944, he flew in the Lucky Lucille, a plane in a unit called Ken’s Men, which was a part of the Fifth Army, 43rd Bomb Group. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, and American Defense Service Medal. The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves in support of operations for “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.” The Air Medal is a military decoration of the United States Armed Forces. The medal is awarded for single acts of heroism or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.  In the above photo of the crew,  C.C. was 3rd from the right.  To C.C. left was Oklahoma resident Native American and member of the, Osage Nation Delray Echo Hawk.  Top and second from the right was Staff Sergeant and Nose gunner JackMatisoff of Pikeville, MD.  Other members were Julian Al Petty, John R. O’Neal, Jr., Bob Lee, Bob Mason, Albert Ritcher, Jr., Lt. JackShainfaine and Arthur Prent.

Lucky Lucille - Nose Art of WW II - 24 Bomber that flew over the Southwest Pacific
Lucky Lucille – Nose Art of WW II – 24 Bomber that flew over the Southwest Pacific

 

 

 

 

C.C. was keenly interested in gardening. Only two years before his death, he mounted his tractor and plowed under over an acre plot. He was an avid reader and read The Wall Street Journal and the Lenoir News-Topic daily. He was also a computer enthusiast and some time ago was an active golfer. He was proud of his colonial ancestors. He was a direct descendant of Adam Sherrill, who in 1749 was the first white man to settle on the west bank of the Catawba River. His 4th great-grandfather, John Oxford, came to America in 1652 at the age of 13. His father was a Captain in King Charles I Royal Army. The Captain was persecuted and sent his son to America. C.C.’s 4th great-grandfather protested against Royal Governor Tryon resulting in his fleeing from his home and settling near Taylorsville. A Blair ancestor served as the first President of William and Mary College. Preliminary research indicates that a branch of this line is related to Daniel Boone. These families claimed several Revolutionary War Patriots.

Mr. Sherrill was retired from Catawba Valley Technical Institute, where he was a business and instructor and was a member of Union Baptist Church.

Survivors include two sisters, Bessie Juanita “Nita” Sherrill Jones of White Plains, Maryland, and Shirley Sue Sherrill Branch of Lenoir.

A graveside service will be held Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 2:00 P.M. at Union Baptist Church Cemetery conducted by Rev. Ted Sherrill with full military honors provided by the United States Army and the Caldwell County Veterans Honor Guard.

Education, Detailed Military Service, Career Life, and Retirement Years 1941-2018

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made to Union Baptist Church, 4595 Union Baptist Church Road, Lenoir, N.C. 28645.

A graveside service will be held Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 2:00 P.M. at Union Baptist Church Cemetery conducted by Rev. Ted Sherrill with full military honors provided by the United States Army and the Caldwell County Veterans Honor Guard.

School Pictures

 

Oak Hill School 1931 - Grade 2
Oak Hill School 1931 – Grade 1

Roster not Available

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oak Hill School 1931 - Grade 2
Oak Hill School 1931 – Grade 2

 

 

 

 

Oak Hill School Grade 4 - Mrd. Hodgins- Oct 15, 1933
Oak Hill School Grade 4 – Mrs. Hodgins- Oct 15, 1933
Roster - Oak Hill School Grade 4 - Mrs. Hodgins- Oct 15, 1933
Roster – Oak Hill School Grade 4 – Mrs. Hodgins- Oct 15, 1933
Oak Hill High School Class of 1941
Oak Hill High School Class of 1941
Graduating Class Oak Hill High School - 1941
Graduating Class Oak Hill High School – 1941