Two brothers from St. Paul, Minnesota joined the U.S. Army in 1917 as the United States was drawn into the First World War. One sacrificed his life serving in the Great War. The other survived a gas attack, returned to Minnesota, and started a family. Several generations hence, his great-grandson, inspired by his family’s legacy of service, is back in Europe with the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division protecting freedom once again.
It all started when U.S. Army Pfc. Frank Dingle from St. Paul Minnesota, joined in 1917. His brother U.S. Marine Pvt. Richard Wallace Dingle joined the Marine Corps April 20, 1917, just 14 days after the U.S. declared war.
Both brothers fought in World War 1. Frank was attached to the U.S. Army Ambulance Corps from 1917 to 1919, while Richard was an infantryman attached to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. Richard fought in the famed Battle of Belleau Wood where he was killed in action June 6, 1918, at the age of 20 years old.
His brother Frank survived World War I despite a gas attack and received the French Croix De Guerre Medal March 17, 1919 followed by an award citation from a field marshal from the French-East Army.
“Since entering service in the division, he has shown the most robust qualities of courage and dedication,” the award citation read. “During the night of October 1, 1918, despite great fatigue and great disturbances coming from a wave of gas, refused to be replaced and continued his service until all the wounded were evacuated.”
After returning from the war, Frank went to Pine River, Minnesota to become a dentist. In 1921, he founded American Legion Post 98 in St. Paul Park, Minnesota with the help of fellow local World War I veterans and named the Legion hall after his brother, Richard.
A generation later, following in the service of his grandfather, John Dingle joined the U.S. Army in May 1982.
“I wanted to be an Airborne Ranger,” he said.
Determined, he started his military career in basic training, then completed advanced individual training (AIT), as well as the airborne, and air assault schools.
“It’s about taking the challenge in front of you,” John said. “It’s what defines you.”
He was initially assigned to the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade combat team, 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. He was later transferred to the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Fort Lewis, Washington. During this time, he completed Ranger School.
He served with the Ranger Battalion until 1986 and decided to attend college at Saint Martins University in Washington State, where he joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
“My proudest moment is getting through it all, basic training, AIT, airborne, air assault, Ranger School, and getting to where I wanted to be,” John said. “The second proudest would be commissioning as an officer.”
John served as an officer until 1991 at the age of 32.
“My life would have been drastically different if it wasn’t for the military,” John said.
Starting a family a few years later, John has four children. Three of the four sons, including his son Jordan, decided to follow in the footsteps of their family’s Veterans and joined the military.
“Service has always been on my mind since I was a little kid,” Jordan said. “I was always surrounded by it growing up and my dad would always talk about his time in the service.”
He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned as an armor officer May 21, 2022.
Jordan graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in military history and landed in the top 30 percent of his class.
Like his father, Jordan began completing tough training and military courses, like the U.S. Army’s Armor Basic Officer Leader Course, the Bradley Commander’s Course, and the Scout Leader Course.
“The most challenging of the courses was the Armor Basic Officer Leader Course,” Jordan said. “I had to learn to fight mounted on an (M1A2) Abrams which is similar to fighting dismounted, but maneuvering tanks provides a greater tactical challenge. It was definitely a learning curve.”
He eventually was assigned to the “Rock of the Marne,” the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, which earned its nickname for its heroics on the same French battlefields of the First World War where his great grandfather and great-great uncle served. In fact, the 3rd Infantry Division fought alongside U.S. Marine Corps units during the Battle of Belleau Wood near the Marne River in 1918, where Jordan’s great-great uncle was killed in action.
“It’s probably my proudest moment in my military career to join the 3rd Infantry Division,” said Jordan. “The history of this unit is very inspiring: from the Thunder Runs in Baghdad, Vietnam, most campaigns in the European theater of war during the Second World War, and then back to my lineage, World War I.”
Like many service members, Jordan, who is currently deployed in Eastern Europe, looks to his fellow Veterans and his family’s legacy of service as a source of inspiration in his own service.
Members of the Dingle family have served in World War II, Vietnam, and Afghanistan to the present day in addition to Jordan’s service with the 3rd Infantry Division in Europe.
“I think it’s humbling to be able to serve in Europe just like previous Dingles,” Jordan said. “I am proud of my family for serving, especially my great-grandfather, and great-great-uncle, for their sacrifices. They represented the family well for the service they gave and I want to thank them for their impact on my life even though I’ve never met them.”
Veterans Day takes on a special meaning for Jordan. It’s important to him to not only reflect on family members who have served or those who continue to serve, like his brothers, but it’s important to remember all those who have served for the United States, he said.
“Ultimately it’s about selfless service and sacrifice,” Jordan said. “Most people see military sacrifice through the lens of combat, but it also encompasses the day-to-day sacrifice. It harkens back to being told what you do, even if it’s not something you want to do, you do it. Service members choose to join the military, to be something bigger than themselves, to give back to the country, and to challenge themselves every day. That’s why we honor service members on Veterans’ Day.”
Jordan’s service may very well inspire another generation of his family or other Americans to follow in his footsteps of service one day, just as previous generations of Dingles inspired him. He wants to continue being the best he can be for his unit and country. He hopes to attend law school someday and continue his service in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. At the same time, his brothers are currently serving elsewhere in the U.S. Army. Capt. Jack Dingle is the commander of Alpha “Able” Company, 3rd Battalion, 509 Infantry (Airborne) in Anchorage, Alaska, and 2nd Lt. Jared Dingle is attending the Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Moore, Georgia.
As for John, he has plans to retire and move to Florida within the year.
“I am very proud of all four of my boys,” John said. “What comes to mind when I think of Jordan, he’s very intellectual. He enjoys learning and sharing his knowledge. I’m proud of what he has accomplished so far in his career, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the future.”