IN HONOR OF HOWARD J. SCHROEDER
Howard J. Schroeder was born May 24, 1920 in Wauwatosa to Margaret and Henry Schroeder. The family moved from Wauwatosa to Nashota and then moved again to settle in Thiensville. As a youth Howard was fascinated and extremely interested in airplanes. He made model airplanes that in his day required cutting all of the parts out of balsa wood following detailed plans for the ribs, bulkheads, propeller, struts, frame and wheels and miscellaneous parts. Cutting out these parts required dexterity in the use of a razor blade and the ability to read and interpret the plans. After all the parts were cut they had to be meticulously glued together. Since most of the models of this time were rubber band driven, special attention had to be given to the assembly of the bulkheads and the frame to support the tension of the twisted rubber band which was the main engine. After the frame was completed it was covered with a special light paper and glued to the frame. This hobby provided Howard with the training that he would soon need; skills such as attention to detail, perseverance, and the tenacity to see a job through. Howard had three siblings: Brothers Leroy, Henry and Donald. At the time Thiensville-Mequon did not have a High School so Howard graduated from the Cedarburg High School in 1938. Howard was keenly aware of what was going on in Europe at that time. Being an honorable, righteous, and maybe clairvoyant in understanding the menace that Hitler presented to the world, he decided that it was time to get involved and prepared to overcome the Nazis who were menacing the world at that time.
At the age of 19, and with his interest in airplanes and flying, Howard enlisted in the Army Air Corps on May 23, 1939. He entered the service at Chanute Field in Rantoul, 111. At this time the United States did not have a separate service for the Air Force. Anxious to contribute to the defeat of the Nazis, Howard joined the Royal Canadian Air Force June 1941. At this time the United States was not directly involved in the war with any declaration of war because of our isolationist political leanings. However, this was about to change in six months. In the meantime, Howard was sent to Toronto, Ontario for recruit training.
Following ground school at Toronto and advanced flight training at Aylmer, Ontario he received his wings as Sergeant Pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force on April 1942. Now with the United States actively engaged in the war since December 7, 1941 with President Roosevelt's declaration of war on Japan after they bombed Pearl Harbor. Hitler in retaliation, declared war on the United States December 11, 1941. Howard was then transferred from the Royal Canadian Air Force to the United States Marine Corps.
With the rank of Staff Sergeant he was sent to Quantico, Virginia and from there he was transferred to Corpus Christi, Texas for a refresher course in aerial combat. After completing this training he received the designation as Naval Aviation Pilot. Howard was assigned to a dive bombing school for pre-operational training at Opa Locka Naval Air Station; Miami, Florida. Upon completion of this training he received the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corp on May 21, 1942.
Howard died in the service of his country on May 30, 1944 near North Cape, New Ireland Island in the New Guinea area. He exhibited heroism in aerial fights with the Japanese in the Solomon Islands area from February 5, 1944 to March 19, 1944 and in the St. Mathias and Bismarck Archipelago of the coast of New Guinea from May 3, 1944 to May 30, 1944. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Presidential Citation, Purple Heart Medal, Asiatic- Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and others.