PFC Lee Walter Reininger

PFC Lee Walter Reininger

Colorado, USA
Death 4 Jun 1942 (aged 18)
Midway Islands, U.S. Minor Outlying Islands
Memorial Site* Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA

* A structure erected in honor of someone whose remains lie elsewhere.

Plot Courts of the Missing
Memorial ID 56120240 · View Source
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Lee Walter Reininger was the son of Morris Reininger and Edna D. Montgomery. His father was a pharmacist in Denver where Lee was raised and educated. The drug store was a store front rental located at 1894 South Pearl, in Denver.

The 1930 U.S. Census shows the family as living in Denver, Colorado. The following family members were recorded as living in the home at that time:
Head Morris Reininger M 40 New York
Wife Edna Reininger F 38 New Jersey
Son Robert Reininger M 14 Pennsylvania
Son Lee Reininger M 6 Colorado

On May 30, 1930, Morris Reininger passed away.

Lee enlisted into the United States Marine Corps on November 14, 1939. He completed his boot camp training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. After completing his training in December, Lee was sent to Company A, Second Engineer Battalion. He served with the engineers until April, 1940, when he transferred to Company H, Second Battalion, Eighth Marines. In late September, Reininger was transferred to the Second Marine Air Group where he underwent and completed training as an aerial gunner. Lee completed his training with a permanent rate of Private First Class.

In January 1942, Lee was sent to Midway Island in the Pacific, where he joined dive bomber squadron VMSB-241. He was assigned to be the gunner/radio operator for Lieutenant Daniel Iverson's Vought SB2U Vindicator until mid May, when he began flying with the squadron's new commanding officer, Major Lofton Henderson.

On the morning of June 4, 1942, Lee and Major Henderson took off from Midway and, as Japanese planes turned the base to rubble behind them, flew off to try and find the carrier strike force that was approaching their territory.

After nearly ninety minutes in the air, the Americans spotted the carriers – and were in turn spotted by patrolling planes from the carrier HIRYU. The slow dive bombers, unable to dive properly due to the pilots inexperience (they had only had a few days to learn how to fly this new plane), were easy targets. Soon, seven of the bombers were falling in flames – one of them carried Lee and Major Henderson to their deaths. Reportedly a figure was seen bailing out from Lee's plane and a parachute was seen opening.

To this day, Lee's and Major Henderson's remains are lost in the Pacific Ocean, where they lie at a place none only to God.

Lee was 17 or 18 years old when he was killed.

Lee's sister, Mrs. Gwendolyn K. Morehouse was notified of his death.

Private First Class Lee Walter Reininger, Sn# 277556, earned the following badges/decorations for his service in the United States Marine Corps during World War II:
- Navy Air Crew Wings
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- Purple Heart Medal
- Combat Action Ribbon
- Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon
- Marine Corps Good Conduct Ribbon
- American Defense Service Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations Campaign Medal with one bronze battle/campaign star
- World War II Victory Medal

**NOTE**- The Marine airfield on Guadalcanal, Henderson Field, was named after Lee's pilot and commander, Major Lofton Henderson.

**NOTE #2** - A portion of this bio is based on information from the website They have done a fantastic job of researching approximately 3000 US Marines whose bodies were lost in the war. This writer wholeheartedly recommends their site for researchers or families of the missing. - Rick Lawrence, MSgt., USMC/USAFR {RET})

Family Members

Gravesite Details Entered the service from Colorado.


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  • Maintained by: Rick Lawrence
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56120240
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Lee Walter Reininger (Jan 1924–4 Jun 1942), Find a Grave Memorial no. 56120240, citing Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by Rick Lawrence (contributor 47207615) .