PVT Charles O. (Charlie) Frinks
44th Cavalry Mechanized Recon Squadron
KIA 17 April 1945
-- Jean Frinks Reid --
My father was born on Oct 26, 1904 in Alexandria, VA; son of a dairy farmer and one of six children. His youngest sister, who's still alive, was a school friend
of my mother's (Faye Purvis) and she introduced them. After dating in secrecy while she was still in school, they ran away to Rockville, MD and were married on
the very day my mother was to have reported to work at her very first job. She was 17 and he was 21. Needless to say she lost the job!
My brother Charles was born in 1928 and I came along in 1930. These were Depression years and life was not easy for anybody. Daddy worked as a machinist at Fruit
Growers Express in Alexandria. Times were tough but I have only good memories of those early years. In 1940 we moved to Lansdowne, PA where daddy had taken a job
at the US Navy Yard in Philadelphia and we remained there until the US entered the war, at which time he enlisted in the Regular Army. He received basic training
at Ft Leonard Wood, MO and was subsequently assigned to the 8th Recon Tp, 8th Inf Div. In1943 the squadron was transferred to the 11th Cavalry Group and re-designated
the 44th Cavalry Mechanized Recon Squadron.
He was assigned to C Troop of the 44th and remained there until his death. The Group was deployed to Europe in 1944, where they joined 9th Army's XIIIth Corps. On
April 17th, 1945 in Salzwedel, Germany, he was in a jeep enroute to a guard post when he was killed by a sniper's bullet. He had been awarded the Purple Heart on April
13th for injuries received on the 10th of April. He mailed the medal to my mother and enclosed a note dated April 16th which read: "Hi One and Only! Just a word or
two to say I'm OK and still love you. Just a little remembrance or souvenir for my Honey. Please excuse the scribble. Love to all, COF. PS - Will meet you again at
the spring." He was killed the next day.
After the war ended, my mother and grandmother made the decision not to bring his body home but to leave him at Margraten with the Dutch people who had been so kind to him
and who had made his life a little easier during wartime. Also, the setting there is so beautiful; rural and very much like home. I've never really been sorry about their
decision until recently; both my mother and brother are buried in Arlington National Cemetery and I've thought it would be nice to visit them all at the same time. But I
think he's where he would want to be.
I was almost 15 years old when daddy was killed, so I knew him quite well and have a lot of wonderful memories. He was a "Good Time Charlie" in every respect - lost stripes
on at least one occasion as a result! He loved to dance, had a pleasing singing voice and enjoyed fishing and hunting. I doubt that he would have been drafted given his
occupation, age and having two children, but he enlisted out of patriotism and his sense of adventure. He was well liked by his fellow soldiers in spite of the age difference
and was referred to as Pop.
My brother enlisted in the Army at age 18 and served in some of the same units as daddy and advanced thru the ranks to retire as a Major in 1966. He passed away in 2000.
I worked as a secretary for the Department of the Army retiring with 25 years' service and am married to Raymond T. Reid, COL, USA, Ret. My mother had remarried in 1952
and was widowed again in 1970 and spent the remainder of her life with me and my family until she passed away in 2001 at the age of 92.
The older I get, the more I think of and miss daddy - one of the most constant thoughts and questions being, "I wonder what might have been." I'm sure all AWON members can
relate. Flags, Taps, and parades bring a lump to my throat, tears to my eyes and tremendous pride to my heart as I think of his sacrifice.