Coltrane Sherrill An American Hero

Written by: Hugh Barnes  March 7, 2018
© Hugh Barnes, All Rights Reserved
Published by: Barnes Oxford Genealogy Foundation, Inc.

Coltrane Caswell “C.C.” Sherrill age 94, of Union Baptist Road, Lenoir, passed away Monday, March 5, 2018, at Frye Regional Medical Center. Although known as “C.C.,” a few called him “Tyke,” a nickname which he hated, but was more commonly known.
C.C. was born on 4 August 1923 only two days before Vice-President Calvin Coolidge became President passed away on 5 March 2018 at the age of 94 following a bout with leukemia.

The Great Depression broke out in 1929 and lasted until 1941. C.C. was a product of those times, and they instilled in him many of its principals found in a 2011 issue of Business Insider entitled “10 Lessons From People Who Lived Through The Great Depression”  Grow your own; cash, not credit; if you have to, move on; keep morale high;  know a deal when you see it; and stick together.

“Tomorrow I could lose everything, but somehow I’m not afraid. I really am not.”

These principals lead to his WWII enlistment in the Army Air Force where he served as a radio operator in a B-24 bomber. He flew in many different planes and his last service in the air was aboard a plane know as Lucky Lucille.

At one point the plane was shot down and the navigator was injured and could not perform his duties. C.C. was the radio operator and knew nothing of navigation but pulled the navigator out his station in the nose of the plane. He then took this position and zoomed in on a Japanese radio beacon. The pilot flew under a cloud and the plane was able to land.

Mr. Sherrill was retired from Catawba Valley Technical Institute, where he was a business and law instructor and was a member of Union Baptist Church. Survivors include two sisters, Bessie Juanita “Nita” Sherrill Jones of White Plains, Maryland, and Shirley Sue Sherrill Branch of Lenoir. 

Lucky Lucille - Nose Art of WW II - 24 Bomber that flew over the Southwest PacificC.C. was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army Air Force, flying over 300 combat hours in 51 combat missions in B-24 bombers. In 1944, he flew in the Lucky Lucille, a plane in a unit called Ken’s Men, which was a part of the Fifth Army, 43rd Bomb Group. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, and American Defense Service Medal. The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves in support of operations for “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.” The Air Medal is a military decoration of the United States Armed Forces. The medal is awarded for single acts of heroism or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.

Oak Hill School 1931 - Grade 2C.C. was keenly interested in gardening. Only two years before his death, he mounted his tractor and plowed under over an acre plot. He was an avid reader and read The Wall Street Journal and the Lenoir News-Topic daily. He was also a computer enthusiast and some time ago was an active golfer. He was proud of his colonial ancestors. He was a direct descendant of Adam Sherrill, who in 1749 was the first white man to settle on the west bank of the Catawba River. His 4th great-grandfather, John Oxford, came to America in 1652 at the age of 13. His father was a Captain in King Charles I Royal Army. The Captain was persecuted and sent his son to America. C.C.’s 4th great-grandfather protested against Royal Governor Tryon resulting in his fleeing from his home and settling near Taylorsville. A Blair ancestor served as the first President of William and Mary College. Preliminary research indicates that a branch of this line is related to Daniel Boone. These families claimed several Revolutionary War Patriots.

Education, Detailed Military Service, Career Life, and Retirement Years 1941-2018

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made to Union Baptist Church, 4595 Union Baptist Church Road, Lenoir, N.C. 28645.A graveside service will be held Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 2:00 P.M. at Union Baptist Church Cemetery conducted by Rev. Ted Sherrill with full military honors provided by the United States Army and the Caldwell County Veterans Honor Guard.