West Virginia bridge named after World War II paratrooper

June 12, 2022 GMT

ALBRIGHT, W.Va. (AP) — A rural West Virginia bridge has been named in honor of a U.S. Army paratrooper who was killed in the Philippines during World War II.

A Preston County span known locally as the Albright Bridge was named the US Army TSGT Harold William Schmidle Memorial Bridge on Saturday, WBOY-TV reported.

Schmidle served 37 months in the Pacific theater during World War II. He served as a rifle squad leader in the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, according to a West Virginia Senate resolution about the bridge dedication.

Schmidle was killed in the Battle of Banzai Point on Corregidor Island in February 1945. He posthumously received a Silver Star medal “for taking up a dangerous flank position, with utter disregard for his own life, repulsing several enemy rushes, and holding his position until mortally wounded without asking for help,” the resolution said.

Schmidle was born in 1921 in Albright. One of 14 children, he enlisted in the infantry as a young man, the resolution said.

Randy Schmidle, the paratrooper’s nephew, said the bridge dedication was important to his family, who will “honor his sacrifice” when they drive across it.