Hamilton County

Lt. Merle L. Sandal



Webster City and Stanhope Cadets to Advanced Flying School

With his graduation from the basic flying school at Goodfellow Field, San Angelo, Texas, Aviation Cadet David L. McNarney, of 520 Second street, Webster City, and Aviation Cadet Merle L. Sandal, of Stanhope, this week enter the last lap of their flight training before being commissioned as flying lieutenants in the fighting army air corps.

These cadets now move on to an advanced flying school where they will learn to handle the faster, more powerful planes of America’s growing sky armada. After completing the advanced course, they will be assigned to a combat unit or will become instructors.

At Goodfellow Field, where they “Say It With Flyers,” they received their first instruction in aerobatics, instrument, formation, cross country, and night flying. In ground school they were drilled in radio code, weather, and military law.

Typical of the air corps newest wartime training centers, Goodfellow Field, operating under a greatly stepped-up pilot training program, is turning out an ever increasing number of fighting airmen.

Cadet McNarney attended Iowa State college. He is the son of the late Col. Frank T. McNarney, and cousin of Brig. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney of the U.S. army air corps general staff.  Cadet Sandal also attended Iowa State college. He worked on his father’s farm before entering the aviation school.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, March 19, 1942            


HDQRS, GULF COAST TRAINING CENTER, Texas—Mid-continent-spanning Gulf Coast Air Force Training Center Wednesday took on the teeming turbulence of an ant-hill, as class 42-E of fighting flyers received war wings at seven different pilot schools and prepared to stream forth to every continent under the sun.

Among the new wearers of wings were many flying officers and staff sergeants from Iowa, which contributed 37.

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Included in the group were Lieut. David L. McNarney, 520 Second street, Webster City, and Lieut. Merle L. Sandal, Stanhope. McNarney is the son of the late Col. Frank McNarney and a nephew of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Phillips.  Sandal is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Sandal, living near Stanhope.

“Unusual” was the name for this class, which represents every state in the union.
For example:
Class 42-F—the sixth post-Pearl Harbor brood—was the largest in history (phraseology that has become standard every five weeks.)

Source:  Daily Freeman Journal, May 20, 1942

Lt. Sandal Died Dec. 7 In Accident

STANHOPE—Martin Sandal received word Saturday morning from the war department that his son Merle, a second lieutenant with the United States army air forces in North Africa, was killed Dec. 7 in an airplane accident.

The youth was 24 years old and received his wings May 21, 1942 at Lubbock Field, Texas. He was home shortly after that on a short furlough before being transferred to new duties.

Lieutenant Sandal was a graduate of Stanhope high school in 1936. Besides his father, he leaves two brothers and three sisters, Everett of Akron, Ohio, Charles at home, Mrs. Evelyn Pierce of Webster City, Helen of Glidden, and Marjorie at home.

No further particulars of the air accident were received in the war department’s message.

Source: Webster City Freeman, Webster City, IA - Jan. 4, 1943


Merle Leander Sandal was born in 1918 to Martin A. and Alice Nelson Sandal. He died Dec. 7, 1942 and is buried at the North Africa American Cemetery, Carthage, Tunisia Plot: E Row: 6 Grave: 3.

Lt. Sandal, a C-47 pilot, was killed in an airplane accident in French Morocco, North Africa while serving with the U.S Army Air Forces, 8th Squadron, 62nd Troop Carrier Group. The plane was suspected to have been sabotaged.

Sandal, Merle Leander, Lieut - Stanhope. Killed in airplane accident in French Morocco, N Africa 12-7-1942. Father: Mr. Martin A. Sandal, Stanhope, Iowa.

Sources: Daily Freeman Journal and ancestry.com; WWII Memorial; World War II Honoree