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Patrick Mickael Trinkle

Company M-1

30 Jun 1938 - 10 July 1986

Patrick Mickael Trinkle

Place of Death: Keller Army Hospital, West Point, New York

Interment: West Point Cemetery, West Point, New York

After a six month hospitalization and medical retirement from the U.S. Army, Patrick Mickael Trinkle, Colonel, Infantry, died at West Point on 10 July 1986.

Mike was born on 30 January 1938 in Jeffersonville, Indiana, to Marjory and Earl Trinkle. He graduated from Tracy Union High School, Tracy, California, in 1956 and attended University of Pacific in Stockton, California, for one year before entering the United States Military Academy in 1957.

As a cadet Mike moved quietly along in the middle of the pack mostly unnoticed by the establishment (a particularly desirable situation at West Point). But his quiet, unassuming manner was extremely deceptive as to the talents waiting to be unleashed after graduation. His participation in the Glee Club earned him some welcome relief from the rigors of cadet life, including an appearance on the Gary Moore Show in New York City.

Mike was commissioned as a lieutenant of Infantry upon graduation in 1961 and, after airborne and ranger schools, he joined the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. On Nov 3, 1962, he married Mary Mink of Scarsdale, New York. Mary and Mike had two daughters Paty and Katherine (Katie) to complete the team of New York Trinkles.

Since soft-spoken Mike was never one to toot his own horn, many of his stellar accomplishments went largely unnoticed. But the Army was aware of his tremendous talents through his continued superior performance on active duty. Mike was an ideal Infantry officer demonstrating superb leadership and excellent judgment during both peace and War. He served two tours in Vietnam, once with MACV (Military Assistance Command Vietnam) and once with the Americal Division. He was B Company Commander of Task Force Barker with area of operations including Mei Lei and Song Mei during the terrible Tet Offensive of 1968. He was seriously wounded in Song Mei in late February but, after recuperating in Japan, returned to action in Vietnam. He was a genuine hero earning 2 Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medal, 2 Purple Hearts, 6 Bronze Star Medals including V device, Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Service Cross. His great personal courage and inspirational leadership were demonstrated by his actions that earned him the Distinguished Service Cross for supreme gallantry and "extraordinary heroism" in combat.

Mike was a true patriot who found a home in the Army. He continued his pursuit of professionalism during peacetime earning a Master's Degree in Asian Studies from New York University in 1971, graduating from Command and General Staff College in 1972 and the Defense Language School studying Indonesian in 1975. He completed the Foreign Area Officer Course in 1978 and the Army War College in 1979. His most enjoyable peacetime assignment was, without doubt, his year and a half as infantry battalion commander at Ft. Lewis, Washington.

After serving for two years at the office of U.S. Army DCSOPS (Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations) in the Pentagon in 1979 and 1980, Mike was again sent on an unaccompanied tour, this time for two years as military advisor to the Ambassador of North Yemen. For this service he was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal.

From Yemen he was assigned as National Guard regional advisor headquartered at Stewart Field near West Point, finally reunited with his family and able to live in his newly built house in Cornwall-On-Hudson. From there he went in 1983 to First Army Headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland, for two years. Then he took his family to Hawaii where he was Deputy Installation Commander of Schofield Barracks. It was there in January 1986 that he was suddenly diagnosed as terminally ill. He was sent to Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., and then to Keller Army Hospital at West Point to spend his final days.

Mike Trinkle was the consummate infantry officer demonstrating superb leadership and judgment in both peace and war. He repetitively made great personal sacrifice in his unsurpassed dedication to his country, yet always without complaint. A loving husband and father, he was frequently torn by duties that took him away from his family. Yet he always made clear to his three girls his complete devotion to them. The class of 1961 was extremely fortunate to have such a rare, true friend.

Mike's wife Mary died March 15th, 1989 at their home in Cornwall-on-Hudson. Daughter Paty Trinkle is a radio announcer and music director now living in Poughkeepsie, NY, and daughter Katie Trinkle Legge is an artist living with her husband Darren and son Jakob Michael in Nantucket, MA.

At the time of his death, Mike was survived by his parents Marjory (died 1991) and Earl Trinkle and brothers and sisters of Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Written by Deac Lancaster in coordination with Mary Trinkle and daughters Paty and Katie.

Remembrances:

I had the honor to serve with then Capt Trinkle when he commanded Alpha Company of Task Force Barker in 1968 and was with him as part of his command group Feb 23rd when he earned the DSC. If not for his leadership that day the outcome could have been very different.

Capt Trinkle was a quietly onfident, courageous, professional officer who was genuinely concerned for the welfare of those who reported to him. He was a credit to the Army and I am humbled to have known him.

Michael Cowan


Mike Trinkle

Mary and Mike Trinkle

Jakob Michael Legge - Number One Grandson

Jakob Michael Legge - And his three closest friends
Friends = Darren, Katie and Max (Freddie the Second)


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Last update:
6/11/2008