This article is part four in a series honoring Ricks College and BYU-Idaho alumni who lost their lives in the service of their country.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
2nd Lt. John Vernile Clinger
New Guinea was a death trap. There were no horses to ride, hot springs to swim in or pianos to play for Jack Clinger. Nothing but a jungle filled with Japanese and mosquitoes — both deadly. But he was just happy he had a B-25 bomber to co-pilot.
Jack Clinger was born on June 13, 1923, in LaBelle, Idaho to Vivian and Zella Clinger. Raised in Rexburg, Jack was a typical Idaho farm boy. He loved to fish, he loved animals and he loved to impress the girls at church youth parties with his dancing.
Intent on becoming a doctor, Jack enrolled at the University of Utah in 1941. When the U.S. entered World War II, he decided to enlist in the Army Air Corps so he could become a pilot.
On August 18, 1944, Jack was one of four lieutenants aboard the B-25 on a flying exercise with 15 other planes. Another plane banked the wrong way and hit his plane, knocking it’s wing off and sending it into the sea.
Around that same time at 2:50 a.m. Zella Clinger, Jack’s mom, sprung awake. She thought she had heard somebody.
“Who’s in there?” she cried.
Again, she called, “Who’s in there?”
She got up, checked the bathroom and then the front room. Both were empty. She should have been afraid, but instead, she had a funny feeling. A feeling she couldn’t describe.
Days later she learned of Jack’s plane crash. No bodies were recovered. Her mind went back to the night she heard the noise in the living room. Jack had come to say goodbye.
Special thanks to Kari Kruger and Donita Crooks for assisting in the research for Jack Clinger. Another special thanks to the late Zella Clinger for the information she provided through her written life sketch.
Cpl. Marvin Erastus Frandsen
Marvin Frandsen was born on May 22, 1919, in Basalt, Idaho to Victor and Sarah Frandsen. He attended Firth High School and was part of the glee club.
Marvin was drafted into the 319th Bombardment Squadron of the Army Air Forces. The squadron was shipped to Hawaii in September 1942 to prepare for bombardment missions in the Pacific.
In October, Marvin wrote a letter to his sister, Erma, saying that he had just discovered the temple in Laie, Hawaii, was near his base and he was planning to receive the endowment, a Latter-day Saint ritual, once he received his temple recommend from back home in Idaho. Unfortunately, his squadron was moved to Australia in November.
The squadron bombed enemy airfields, troop concentrations, ground installations and shipping in New Guinea. Marvin lost his life on December 19, 1942, in New Guinea.
The following month, his squadron was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for their work in New Guinea. On December 4, 1943, Marvin received his temple endowment by proxy in the Logan Utah Temple.
Lt. Reed Palmer Waters
Reed Waters was born on June 23, 1920, in Rigby, Idaho to Claude and Charlotte Waters. He married Eliza Belnap on December 29, 1941, in Thurston, Washington and they had one daughter, Susan Jean.
Reed lost his life in New Guinea on August 9, 1944.