14 Names to Remember Project

14 Names to Remember | Sylvester Metzinger

Posted on May 23rd, 2024 By:

14 Names to Remember Project. Layout by Tonya Strickland. Historic graphics attributed.

Gig Harbor Now columnist Tonya Strickland researched and profiled the 14 local men whose names appear on the World War II monument at Kenneth Leo Marvin Memorial Park. Find all 14 profiles here.

Hometown: Mitchell, South Dakota (but married a Port Orchard native)

Branch: U.S. Army

Rank: Private first class

Died: Jan. 16, 1945 | Age 26

Pfc. Sylvester Martin Metzinger was born April 23, 1918 in Mitchell, South Dakota, to Celina (Vande Voorde) Metzinger and John J. Metzinger. His family moved to Letcher, South Dakota, after his father died in May 1925, and Metzinger attended school there. In the 1920 U.S. Census, he had three sisters: Marie, Loretta and Anna Metzinger.

By 1940, he was stationed at Fort Lewis with the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Reconnaissance Troop. Combat and frequent field maneuver training was practiced at the base; along with amphibious operations throughout the Puget Sound.

While Metzinger was at Fort Lewis, he married Margaret J. Edwards, a native of Port Orchard, on Aug. 2, 1941. By 1945, the 3rd Reconnaissance Troop was deployed overseas and crossing the Rhine to attack southern France.

Pfc. Metzinger died fighting in France from wounds involving artillery in the abdomen. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously and buried at the Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial in France.

A short biography on Metzinger was published in the 2002 book, “Fallen Sons and Daughters of South Dakota in World War II,” by the South Dakota World War II Memorial group. The entries were compiled by the state’s public school students.

Margaret Metzinger, his widow, lived in Tacoma when her husband deployed overseas. She had family in Gig Harbor and later remarried to become Margaret Hagen. She died April 5, 2007 at age 85 and is buried in Lakewood.

Status: KIA – Killed in Action