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Sprowl says son, other who died, were the heroes

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:45 PM

Leroy Sprowl fought in World War II and lost his son in Vietnam.

Sprowl, a Norwalk resident, visited Sandusky and the traveling Vietnam Wall a couple of times last week. He said he tries to get to the traveling wall whenever it is close to Norwalk.

Sprowl's son, James, was killed March 18, 1968 in Vietnam. The 1966 Monroeville High School graduate would have been 59 if he was still alive.

He talked about his son.

"I feel those guys are the heroes," he said. "Sometimes you wish there wasn't that war. When those guys came back they weren't treated so well.

"I had another son (Kenneth, now 58) who went over there and when he came back to Fort Lewis Washington somebody spit on him. They did that a lot to the guys who came back.

"There were a lot of kids like my son, Jim, who got killed over there."

There are 28 names of Huron County residents who died in Vietnam on the Huron County Veterans Memorial.

Marine Corps Lt. Col. James Rehfus presented Leroy and Florence Sprowl with a Bronze Star Medal posthumously awarded to their son, James, on Aug. 28, 1968.

James Sprowl was a lance corporal with the Marines.

Sprowl was cited by the president for exposing himself to hostile fire and single-handedly assaulting the enemy by throwing hand grenades and firing his rifle until he was killed, according to a Norwalk Reflector article.

Part of the citation reads "Corporal Sprowl's resolute initiative and unwavering devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

Leroy and Florence Sprowl had four boys and five girls. Florence died last September and "we lost a daughter the breast cancer three years ago," Leroy said.

Leroy served in Europe during World War II.

"I was a radio man," he said. "I wasn't supposed to be a combat man but we were always in the area. My outfit got caught in the Battle of the Bulge."

He said this country has worked too hard and too long to turn back now. In the war against terror, Sprowl says the United States should finish the job.

"We are doing the right thing," Sprowl said Sunday afternoon. "They don't send the good coverage back. I've talked to a few of the boys who have come back from there and most of them think we are doing the right thing."

"I think we are doing a good job in Iraq. There is too much Washington in it. It think the heads of the service ought to be taking care of it. We should give our soldiers what they need. We need to back them up all of the way. Get the guys over there prepared so they can gradually take over."

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