Miami Trace High School honored World War II veteran Bob Estle and many other veterans on Monday morning with breakfast and a program.
Born on Nov. 23, 1924 in Fayette County, Estle has lived in various other places throughout his life but has always considered this county to be his home. He was described by high school students Kate Leach and Kylie Pettit as an “incredible generous, yet stubborn man who truly has an amazing heart.”
“He exhibited this generosity by enlisting in the United State Marine Corps in November of 1941, and he showed his stubbornness by enlisting when he was only 16 years old,” the students explained. “In order to be accepted he lied about his age and even forged his father’s signature, and was successful in doing so. Bob went on to serve in the Marine Corps during World War II until 1944 when he was injured by a grenade during a battle on the Pacific Island of Peleliu.”
While serving, Estle was located on 36 different islands in the Pacific and was involved in direct combat on four of them. The students said his life was not easy on the islands with extreme temperatures and savage jungles. On one island the ground was so muddy that they could barely walk and that they then used coral that they collected from the beach to form a small pathway to allow them to move easily.
On top of the conditions, Estle also saw some grueling battles where he lost some of his beloved and brave friends. Estle said they were some of the finest people he had ever known.
“Despite the many hardships, Bob loved having the opportunity to serve his country and says he would do it all again if given the chance,” the students said.
Estle returned to the United States on Sept. 9, 1945. When he made it home he immediately met up with a young lady from his childhood, Donna Louise Merritt. It was not long before the couple were married and spending their life together. During his adult life Estle became a “jack-of-all-trades,” with his two main occupations being his bait business, Tri-County Bait Company, and his construction work. Unfortunately after 60 years of marriage, Donna passed away, however Estle still visits her daily and knows that she will always remain his wife. The couple has one daughter, two granddaughters and six great-grandchildren.
Estle was honored with a standing ovation Monday by those in attendance. The students also noted that the World War II veteran will serve as the 2019 Holiday Parade Grand Marshal in Washington Court House later this year.
Also announced during the program were the winners of the Americanism and Government test. This test is given annually to students in grades 10 through 12 and consists of 50 true/false, multiple choice, and fill-in-the-blank questions as well as one 300 word essay. Topics covered by the test include: the United States flag, the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and state, county, city, township, village and school district governments in Ohio. The boy and girl from each grade who scored the highest were also honored on Monday. On hand to announce these winners was Americanism chairman with the American Legion Post 25, Ed Helt.
The 10th grade winners were Riley Cruea and Dylan Farley, the junior winners were Siara Eggleton and Christian Caldwell, and the senior winners were Haiven Pepper and Andrew Amore. Additionally, Miami Trace had two of the county winners for their grade, Farley and Caldwell. Each grade winner received a gift card and the papers of Farley and Caldwell will move on for more judging.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.