Heroes deserve recognition from anglers

Matt Markey.
Matt Markey.

FOSTORIA — We were maybe 10 and 11 years old at the time — just a couple of kids eager to go fishing — so we didn’t know any better.

But when my brother, Sean, and I grabbed a coffee can packed with worms and a couple Zebco fishing rods, jumped on our bikes, and with mom’s permission headed to Reservoir No. 2, we were actually being disrespectful to a local American hero.

Cpl. Charles W. Mottram, Jr., of the United States Marine Corps died in the Pacific Theater in October, 1942. Four years later, the city council here put his name on what had been known as Reservoir No. 2, in order to honor Cpl. Mottram, who is believed to be the first Marine from this small, blue collar town to give his life in World War II.

My brother and I would learn later that all of the reservoirs here were not just places to fish for blue gills and bullheads, or somewhere to feed the ducks. These were sacred sites that the folks in Fostoria wanted forever designated to memorialize brave young men who put on the uniform to defend their country, and never came home.

Mottram, who was born in Toledo in 1922 but moved with his family to Fostoria a short time later, graduated from high school here in 1940 and then enlisted in June, 1941, according to a news account of his death published in the Fostoria Daily Review.

This city’s Reservoir No. 1 is Lake Daugherty, named for Eugene Daugherty, a sailor who was missing and presumed dead after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He entered the U.S. Navy at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Chicago and was sent to Hawaii for training with the Pacific fleet based there.

Lake Lamberjack is the old Reservoir No. 3, and is located in town and adjacent to Lake Mottram, so it was another regular fishing spot just a 20-minute bike ride from home. It was named for Sgt. Gerald L. Lamberjack, who was killed in the North African theater in July, 1943, according to the Daily Review report on his death.

Sgt. Lamberjack was an infantry soldier who had taken part in the initial invasion of North Africa late in 1942, after completing his training in Texas and North Carolina. He took part in five major offensives in Africa, but was believed to be fighting in Sicily at the time he was killed. His mother learned of Sgt. Lamberjack’s death while she was at Mass at St. Wendelin Catholic Church, the local paper reported.

The city’s fourth reservoir is outside of town, as is Lake Daugherty, so it was a much tougher bike ride, but we liked its cooperative bass and shallow flats that were easy to wade. Lake Mosier honors William Mosier, Jr., Seaman Second Class, of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. Seaman Mosier was lost when his vessel, the U.S.S. Leopold, was hit by a German torpedo in the Atlantic south of Iceland, in October, 1944. Mosier was one of 171 servicemen killed, either by the explosion, or by drowning.

When Fostoria added a much larger upground reservoir in 1958, No. 5 for the city, it was named Lake LeComte in honor of Flight Officer Charles E. LeComte of the U.S. Army Air Force. LeComte, who had been a star on Fostoria High’s undefeated football team in 1938, enlisted in the summer of 1941.

According to a news account of his death that appeared in the Fostoria Review-Times, Flight Officer LeComte trained in Texas, Florida and Panama before flying his craft across the Atlantic in July, 1943.

His B-26 Marauder bomber, based in Sardinia, was shot down as he supplied support for the beach assault at Anzio.

Word of Flight Officer LeComte’s death came first from the German government, via the Red Cross, so it was believed he crashed somewhere behind enemy lines. At the time of his death, Flight Officer LeComte’s father was serving with the U.S. Army in the South Pacific, and he had two brothers also serving in the U.S. Army Air Force.

Fostoria built a sixth reservoir in 1991, and this time the prevailing sentiment called for honoring all vets -- past, present and future – and calling it Veterans Memorial Reservoir.

The 82 men from the Fostoria area lost in World War II, the two who died in the Spanish-American War, the 23 killed in World War I, the 10 who died serving their country in the Korean War, and the 10 more whose lives were claimed in the Vietnam War – this is also their shrine.

And with the name “Veterans Memorial Reservoir”, it also pays homage to anyone from the town who has served their country, including both of my parents, veterans of World War II — First Lt. Helen Matthews Markey, U.S. Army, and Second Lt. Stephen R. Markey, U.S. Army. (that’s right, my mother outranked my father).

A lot of anglers use the Fostoria reservoirs because they offer a variety of productive fishing options. A lot of people enjoy jogging or walking the dog around those bodies of water.

Even more drink the water that comes from those municipal impoundments.

But as we honor all of our military with Veterans Day on Monday, this seems like a good time to remind the fishermen who utilize all of those reservoirs, the folks who drive across the bridges that recognize our fallen heroes, or picnic at those parks, or roll down those highways — if these places are named for a vet, then salute their memory and acknowledge their ultimate sacrifice by saying their given name.

So thanks, Cpl. Mottram. A couple young boys found a pretty good fishing hole with your name on it, and they also live in a truly great country that you fought to preserve.

Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6068.