Ensign Lewis Wheeler, USNR was co-pilot of a PBM-5 bomber float plane that was shot down during World War II. His aircraft sustained heavy damage after making an attack on three Japanese ships, sinking two of them. The pilot was able to make an emergency landing near the island of Celebes, now known as Sulawesi, Indonesia and the crew went ashore to seek medical care for the wounded. The following day the Japanese ground forces attacked the airmen and Lewis Wheeler was severely wounded in the attack. He died later that day of his wounds.
Lewis graduated from Elston Senior High in Michigan City, Indiana in 1940 and attended Purdue University. He joined the Navy in 1942 and graduated from Naval Flight School in Pensacola, Florida on October 3rd 1944.
As a child and young man, Lewis was an altar boy and choir member at Trinity Episcopal Church in Michigan City, Indiana. Lewis was an all American golden boy - intelligent, popular, handsome, kind and loving. He married his high school sweetheart Betty Zeismer just five months before he was killed in action.
Lewis was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart among other combat medals.
Betty J. Zeismer Graham