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Websites that mention William:

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News article Carteret News, March 3rd 1944

Article about William's citation. March 10, 1944 Carteret News.

Article describing William's heroism, April 1944.

Article describing William's heroism, April 1944.

Newspaper article annoucing William's death.

Article of William's parents receiving his medals.

Front Page article on April 13,1945 found in the Carteret Press.

Article in Carteret News, April 13, 1945.

On August 13, 1996 this article ran in the Home & News Tribune.

Leader News article dated November 17, 1999 about Battle of Peleliu.

In memory of a brave hero. Colgan Avenue.

Colgan Avenue, road sign.

Article in the Asbury Park Press

July 2, 2012

                Citations and Notices:

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Bronze Star Citation signed by James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy.

Navy Cross Citation for bravery under fire, signed by James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy.

Purple Heart Citation for being wounded in action.

President Roosevelt's letter to the family of William's death.

                Letters sent from William to the family:

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Post Card send from Hollywood, California

                This is the last letter received from William: 

**********  A Hero is Honored  **********

 ***** June 16 2012 *****


Presented to the Carteret High School in Honor of William Winfield Colgan

Presented to the Carteret High School, Carteret, New Jersey. In Honor of William Colgan.

This Shadow box will be displayed in a place of Honor at the Careret High School to commemorate William Colgan.


The following essay was written by Dylan Emley ( grand nephew of William ) while in the 4th grade.

It won the first place award for his class and was written with his great uncle as his motivation

The following pictures were taken at the dedication to William at the Carteret High School

Article in the OES Journal

Click on article to enlarge

Carteret High School Speech

My name is Shirley Colgan Goodwyne. It is a pleasure for me to be here today.

I wish to express my thanks to your principle, Mr. Repellot and assistant principle Mr. Sisock, for giving me the opportunity to make a special presentation honoring one of Carteret High Schoolís former graduates.

This presentation has come about, because of a special project chosen by the Worthy Grand Matron, Sister Alice R. Peters, of the Grand Chapter of Florida Order of the Eastern Star. It is part of her Public Awareness Project, to place 1000 + books, purchased by star members in any library, in the vicinity of the donorís choice. We are very close to 2000 books with three more months to go.

Mr. Sisock, thank you for the beautiful Power Point presentation using Williamís web page giving us a look into Williamís life. I understand some of the students were involved in putting the program together. If any of them are present, I would like then to stand. You did a great job, a heartfelt thank you for all your work.

I would like to add a few things about William that I think would help you understand just how special a person he was and a good roll model to follow. William wanted to enlist in the Navy right after Pearl Harbor. Dad said you only have six months to finish high school. Dad promised him he would sign the papers and mail them in, in May. For some reason unknown to us, his enlistment did not come through until November. He was getting very upset. One day he and dad had a heated argument. William thought dad had torn up his enlistment papers. Dad assured him he did not. Three days later his enlistment came through.

William was a hard working young boy. While very young, he started out shinning shoes, shoveling snow, mowing lawns and selling magazine subscriptions. When he was a few years older, he asked Mom and Dad if he could raise some chickens. They told him yes, as long as he bought the feed and wire for their pen and took care of them. A few months later, he added two ducks to the chickens. On his way home from school, William always whistled. Before he could even be seen, the chickens and ducks would hear his whistling. They would go wild scratching and clucking at the end of the pen in the direction William was coming from. They kept it up until he got into the pen petted and talked to them. Before he left for the Navy, mom told him he would have to get rid of the chickens. He did not have the heart to kill them, so he gave them all away. He also delivered two weekly newspapers, The Carteret Press and The Carteret News on his bicycle, in the rain, sleet or snow. When the snow was too deep, he walked the route.

Later when he was in high school he got the job at the local post office delivering special delivery mail three times a day, eight AM., twelve noon and four PM. He used the same bicycle to deliver the mail, until he was able to buy a car in his senior year. His brother Elwood took over his paper routes. He worked in his cousinís pharmacy and on some evenings and most week-ends he ran the movie projector in the Perth Amboy Movie Theater. Upon graduation William worked for the Merck Pharmecutical Company in Rahway, in the mail department. His brother Walter took over the Special Delivery Route. From the very beginning, William always gave his parents part of his earnings to help with the household bills. He also started a savings account. Even while overseas, whenever he got a chance to write home, he would tell Mom and Dad, Iím buying the turkey for thanksgiving. Get a real big one. Another states, mom, you need a new dress and dad needs a new suit, take money out of my bank account and get them.

When William start receiving citations, articles appeared in the same newspapers he delivered as a young lad. People that he had worked for and who knew William, described him as a hard working unassuming young man. Another said, "Throughout his entire life he was known for his exceptional dependability and industry. William Colgan was one of the finest young men to have been raised in Carteret".

In the 1945, October issue of True, The Manís Magazine, there is a story titled HELL in the Umurbrogol by T/Sgt. Jeremiah OíLeary, Marine Combat Correspondent, who was at Peleliu at the time. It is the story of 48 Marines sent out on a mopping up operation. They crawled to the top of knob three. The Japanese let the marines advance far in front of their lines. There was not a single shot fired or any sign of the enemy. Hiding in caves and behind coral crags, they opened up fire on the Marines. It came from all directions. The Marines were pinned down. Each corpsman dragged a wounded Marine to a narrow ledge halfway to the bottom of the ravine. Leaving Corpsman Still and another corpsman there to tend the wounded, Corpsman Colgan climbed back to the fire-swept peak and began to shout orders. "Take it easy you guys. Bandage each other while we get you out of here!" and to the unhurt he barked: "get out of here, a few at a time! Donít all take off at once". Colgan organized the difficult evacuation of the wounded remaining on the crest, and then stood upright to see if he had missed anybody on Knob Three. He was killed outright by enemy bullets, because of this action William was awarded the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart posthumously. I wanted to tell you this story, because the family is in possession of a US Treasury Department Record, that my father got from the little WOR radio station that was in East Carteret, NJ. It was a reenactment by popular actors of the time, with Mark Warno as director of music and Mark Goodson program director. This story was being used to sell War Bonds. If you read the letter William wrote home before being sent overseas, you will see that he realized how important getting a good education was for your future. He said he wished mom and dad had made him study harder. I honestly donít know where he would have found the time to do so, with all the jobs he held.

William loved his country, his family and his fellowman. He died as he lived, looking out for others. That was typical of William.

Before I make the presentation I would like to introduce the rest of Williamís sisters and brother..

Mr. Repelott, in honor of William W. Colgan, graduate of Carteret High School, recipient of the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart, posthumously, and the Bronze Star, with V for Valor for bravery above and beyond the call of duty, and with sincere gratitude to the Worthy Grand Matron, Sister Alice R. Peters of Florida, I would like to present you with these two books, for the high school library, "The Greatest Generation Speaks", by Tom Brokaw, in which Williamís last letter home appears. I would also like to present this shadow box. It was the idea of my very good friend Sister Carol P. Davis, who is a teacher at Lake Asbury Elementary School in Orange Park Florida. She is state chairman of the Worthy Grand Matronís Public Awareness Project. She suggested we have something of a more permanent nature for the school to display. After reading about all Williamís accomplishments, she said what a wonderful roll model he is for the students, especially because he is one of their own. She came up with the idea of the Shadow Box. A very big thanks to Carol. She did a beautiful job designing it and making it. My webmaster, Larry Cook also deserves a special thanks. Our familyís highest hope is that Williamís heroism will inspire the future heroes that will come from Carteret High School. I would also like to thank everyone that came for this special presentation.

Presentation of 100 books by Scottish Chapter #295 to the Orange Park Library


 Williamís Great Niece Carries on the Colgan Military Tradition

  SPC Alison (Pettinheo) Smith 

         Alison graduated CHS June 26th 2005. She enlisted in the Army on Oct 21st 2008. Prior to joining the Army, She attended Middlesex County College from September 2005 through May 2006, and then transferred to Ocean County College from September 2006 through December 2007. She is currently attending Pierce College Online based out of Washington State for criminal justice. Her activities were Color Guard, Track and Band in high school.            


 Air Branch spotlights SPC Smith 

The Air Branch would like to submit SPC Alison Smith as the Air Branch Soldier of the Month. SPC Smith's exceptional mission focus and motivated attitude contributed greatly to the success of the Air Branch during the month of November. In addition to her daily duties as an operator, she also does quality checks on daily mission reporting to ensure customer requirements are met without fail. Additionally, SPC Smith was selected to undergo training in both Reporting and Ground Branches in order to ensure a smooth transfer of operations as the main body of AROCC Soldiers redeploy.

 The picture above was taken at Bangor, Maine by the Freeport Flag Ladies, a link to their page is below 

 This Flag was received December 19, 2010 by Edith Pettinheo from Alison



  This American Flag flew over the skies of Afghanistan in a MC-12W, 

  Aircraft # 641, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on 

  4 October, 2010 

  Edith Pettinheo 

   In Loving Memory of William W. Colgan 

   Feb.3, 1924--Oct.4, 1944 


 Shereen Allen


Shereen Allen is the grand niece of William Winfield Colgan, Pharmacist Mate Second Class, (Corpsman).  She enlisted in the U. S. Navy in the year 2010.  She was sent to Boot Camp in Great Lakes, IL.  When boot camp was completed she received the rank of E-4, because she had an associate degree in nursing.  She wanted to be a Corpsman to follow in her uncle Williamís footsteps, but no billets were available at the time, so she chose fire control school which she attended for a year.  When she finished school, she reported aboard the Dwight D. Eisenhower,C.V.N. 69 aircraft carrier and made two tours of duty in the Persian Gulf War Zone.  When the carrierwas scheduled for her third tour to the Persian Gulf, a problem arose and had to be put into dry-dock.The crew is stationed on the Norfolk Navy Base until repairs are completed.

      The U.S.S. Enterprise, C.V.N-65 formerly C.V.A. (N) 65 was deployed to the Persian Gulf War Zone to carry out the Eisenhowerís tour.  Anthony Watson, E-7, Chief Petty Officer, is Shereenís brother-in-law. He is married to her sister, Heather Allen Watson, Williamís grand niece.  He was already stationed on the Enterprise and had been deployed to the Gulf numerous times.  Chief Anthony Watson served 17 years in the Nuclear division. When he completed this deployment to the Persian Gulf War zone, he decided he wanted to spend more time with his family, so he got out of the Navy.

      The Eisenhower is scheduled to come out of dry dock soon.  After a shakedown cruise, it will be deployed again. This will be Shereenís third tour of duty on the Eisenhower.

      Shereen is also in the Honor Guard for the U.S.S. Eisenhower, which entails Change of Command Ceremonies and all other things pertaining to other official duties.  When dressed in her Honor Guard Uniform, she is not suppose to smile, laugh or talk loudly.  She must remain serious at all times.

      There were nine children in Williamís family.  Three boys and six girls.  There are only three sisters still living, Shirley Colgan Goodwyne, Wilma Colgan Allen and Edith Colgan Pettinheo.  We are very proud of the two grand nieces serving to keep this great country free.  Alison Pettinheo Smith Lovelady is the granddaughter of Robert and Edith Pettinheo and Shereen Allen is the granddaughter of Othal and Wilma Allen.  Alison is still in the Army.  She is a sgt. and is stationed in Hawaii. I know William would be very proud of his two grand nieces for their Military Service.





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