Frank McClain Reinhart ’38

Reinhart '38

Frank McClain Reinhart '38

Second Lieutenant, AUS
Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart

From Phillips Academy, Andover in World War II, by Leonard F. James, pages 158–159

Frank McClain Reinhart ’38 is remembered by those who knew him at Andover as a quiet lad of determination and integrity who embraced life with zest and enjoyment. Keenly interested in outdoor activities, he was a leading spirit in the formation of the Ski Team and the Outing Club, serving as Vice President and Secretary of the new organization, and efficient manager of the Varsity Baseball Team and an enthusiastic member of the Advisory Board. His honor standing in scholarship was recognized in his award of the George Xavier McLanahan Memorial Scholarship and his sterling character in the Smith Lewis Multer, Jr. memorial Scholarship awarded to a worthy student of limited means who, in the judgment of the Headmaster, has exhibited promise in scholarship and qualities of leadership and wholesome influence in the general activities of the School.

Shortly before taking his Princeton degree cum laude in the School of Public and International Affairs, he enlisted in the Ski Troops and was sent to the Aleutians. Offered a commission, he preferred to be with the troops as a private because he felt he could not be a good officer without understanding and sharing the life of the ordinary soldier. After a tour of duty in the Aleutians, he was returned to the United Sates to instruct troops in ski warfare. But feeling that he was not doing his share in the war, he transferred to the Air Corps, and again turned down an appointment to Office Candidate School when many Air Corps training units were curtailed. Instead, he applied for immediate service in Europe, and was shipped overseas with the 398th Infantry Regiment. His Bronze Star Medal was awarded for heroic action in France on December 20, 1944.

“Ordered to move his mortar squad to a position within seventy-five yards of the enemy during a determined counter-attack by hostile forces, Sergeant Reinhart proceeded to execute the mission despite the fact that casualties had incapacitated all other members of his squad. Carrying the weapon and ten rounds of ammunition for a distance of three hundred yards, he single-handedly put the gun in action and by accurate delivery of his fire was instrumental in repulsing the attack, although he himself was the target of enemy small arms fire throughout the action.”

Offered a commission in the field, he returned briefly to Paris, then hitch-hiked back to his men for his last battle. On April 7, 1945, outside Odheim, this gallant soldier gave his life for his troops in an action which won him the Silver Star posthumously.

“Engaged on a tank-supported attack on strong enemy positions…Lieutenant Reinhart and his heavy weapons platoon were left in a precarious position fifty yards from the enemy entrenchments when the tanks were forced to withdraw…. Skillfully deploying his men under hostile mortar, artillery and small arms fire, Lieutenant Reinhart directed their withdrawal while continuing to furnish supporting fire for the riflemen until his movements attracted heavy fire which killed him instantly.”

His devotion to duty and ideals will ever remain in the annals of Andover pride and tradition.

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Filed under In Uniform, Western Front

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