Woodbury County

Lt. Jay Robert Sterling

Born 09 Jul 1917
Died 1 May 1943

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The DesMoines Register, February 13, 1944



Two former Morningside college students have been commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army Air Force at the Lubbock Army flying school, Lubbock, Tex.  They are Howard Franklin Carlson and Jay Robert Sterling.

Lieut. Carlson attended college from 1935 to 1939, receiving his B.A. degree in 1939.  Lieut. Sterling attended the college in 1939 and 1940.

Lieut. Carlson received his primary training at Coleman, Tex., and his basic instruction at Randolph field, Texas.  Lieut. Sterling received his primary training at Tulsa, Oklahoma, and his basic instruction at Goodfellow field, Texas.

Source:  The Sioux City Journal, July 6, 1942 (includes photo)

Lieut. Sterling, 25, Lost in European Area Since May 1

Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Sterling, 1814 W. 18th street, were informed by telegram Tuesday night from the adjutant general’s office that their son, Lieut. Jay Robert Sterling, 25, a pilot “has been missing in an European area since May 1.”

The young man enlisted about two years ago and first served with a medical corps unit at Rockford, Ill.  Five or six months later he transferred to the air corps and served on fields which included Lubbock, Tex.; Walla Walla, Wash.; Rapid City, S.D.; Salina, Kan.; and West Palm Beach, Fla.

He went overseas March 7.  More recently he was stationed in England.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, May 12, 1943

Hope of Sioux Cityans Revived That Their Missing Son is War Prisoner
Bombadier on Same Plane Reported to be in Nazi Camp

In a letter to Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Sterling, 1814 W. 18th street, came a ray of hope that their son, First Lieut. Jay Robert Sterling, 25, reported missing May 11, may be a prisoner in a German camp.

The letter to the Sterlings came from the wife of David Henry Parker of Benson, N.C., bombardier of the crew in which Lieut. Sterling was a pilot.

Mrs. Parker said in the letter that she had been informed by nearly 50 persons of having heard a shortwave broadcast from Berlin on May 28, in which her husband asserted that he was a prisoner in German hands.  She said that one listener from the east coast had furnished her with a recording of her husband’s voice.

The letter quoted her husband as declaring that “I am now a German prisoner.”

“Keep your chin up,” he counseled over the radio, “and I’ll see you when the war is over.”

Mrs. Sterling said they concluded from the letter that if one member of the crew, heretofore reported missing, was a prisoner, it was reasonable to suppose that other members of the crew may be prisoners as well.

She said their son enlisted about a year and a half ago and that he had been overseas since April.

Source:  The Sioux City Journal, June 22, 1943

Robert Sterling Killed in Bombing Action Over France

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sterling, 1814 W. 18th street, were informed Friday by the War Department that their son, Lieut. J. Robert Sterling, had been killed in action May 11, in a mission over St. Nazaire, France.  He had previously been reported missing.

Lieut. Sterling, a former employee of the Sioux City Gas and Electric company, was born in Sioux City July 9, 1917, was graduated from Central high school and attended Morningside and Trinity colleges.  Hiss engagement to Miss Mary Connolly, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D. J. Connolly, 3336 Nebraska street, was announced in February.

Lieut. Sterling enlisted in the air corps October 29, 1941, received pilot training in Tulsa, Okla; San Angelo, Tex.; and Lubbock, Tex., where he was commissioned second lieutenant July 3, 1942. He trained as a bomber pilot at Sebring, Fla.; Walla Walla, Wash.; Rapid City, S.D.; and Salina, Kan., leaving the States for England March 7 of this year.

Survivors include the parents, four sisters and two brothers, all of Sioux City.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, September 18, 1943 (includes civilian photograph)


WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (AP)—Names of five Iowans killed in action in the Asiatic, European and north African (including Sicily) were announced today by the War Department.

Second Lt. Richard E. Mallette, Atlantic, was killed in the Asiatic area; Sgt. Willard O. Simpson, Des Moines and first Lt. Jay R. Sterling, Sioux City, in the European; and Cpl. Arthur P. Clemitson, Graettinger, and Second Lt. John A. Wilbois, Jr., of Des Moines, in the North African areas.

Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, October 11, 1943
Source: Creston News Advertiser, October 11, 1943

Armistice Days Bring Parents Joy, Then Sorrow 
Purple Heart Comes Today; Flew Over House Years Ago

Last Armistice Day the Robert C. Sterling family, 1814 W. 18th Street, looked forward to a  pre-awarded to their son, Lieut. Jay then stationed at Rapid City, S.D. who was scheduled to fly over their home that evening. The plans worked out. The big plane circled over the house and blinked its lights off and on in return.

This Armistice Day, Mr. and Mrs. Sterling have received the Purple Heart arranged greeting to their son, Jay Robert Sterling, killed in action in the European area.

Lieut. Sterling missing since last May 11, and for some time his parents had hoped that he might have been a German prisoner. The official notice of his death was released by the Associated Press on October 11.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, November 11, 1943


These Iowans, like those pictured here on previous Sundays, have given their lives for their country. They are men who have died in actual combat or in prison camps. The fourth line under each name designates the theatre of war in which they were serving. Other pictures will be published later.

Source: The DesMoines Register, Sunday, February 13, 1944  (photo included)