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On This Day, January 10, 1943

Vierling, William Edward was born on June 28, 1921.  At the time of his enlistment he lived in St Charles Missouri.  His father was Mr. William Vierling of St. Charles.  William enlisted in the Navy and served during World War II.  He had the rank of Petty Officer First Class, Motor Machinist's Mate. William served on the USS Argonaut (SS-166).

While operating in the area southeast of New Britain during her third patrol Argonaut intercepted a Japanese convoy returning to Rabaul from Lae on 10 January 1943.  A U.S. Army plane which was out of bombs saw one destroyer hit by a torpedo, saw the explosion of two other destroyers, and reported five other vessels in the group.  The Argonaut was credited with having damaged one Japanese destroyer in the action.

After a severe depth charge attack, the Argonaut was forced to surface.  According to the plane's report, the destroyers circled and pumped shells into her bow, which was sticking up at a considerable angle.  Japanese reports made available since the end of the war record a depth charge attack followed by artillery fire, at which time the "destroyed top of the sub floated.”

Efforts to contact Argonaut by radio were fruitless.  On the basis of the report given by the Army flier who witnessed the attack, it is quite certain that Argonaut met her end in this action. 

William Edward Vierling and 105 sailors on the USS Argonaut were reported missing and ultimately declared dead on January 10, 1943. Recorded circumstances attributed to: "Missing in action, lost at sea, sunk by surface attack and depth charges.”

William Edward Vierling is memorialized at Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Philippines. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission location.  A total of 52 U.S. Submarines were lost in WWII with 374 officers and 3131 men of the Submarine Force who gave their lives.

William Edward Vierling is honored and remembered at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum on the Wall of Honor.  

 

Please contact the St. Charles County Veterans Museum Oral History project at info@stcharlescountyveteransmuseum.com or call 636-294-2657 for more information and lets’ talk. We want to hear from you because we know…Every Veteran has a story.


 

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