Wartime Heritage ASSOCIATION
Return to Story Archive
copyright © Wartime Heritage Association 2012-2022 Website hosting courtesy of Register.com - a web.com company
Remembering Madeline (Doyle) Tinker McCormick
Born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on January 4, 1896, Madeline T. Doyle was the daughter of James William Doyle (1859-1937) and Katharine Cecilia Curry (1859- 1944). Her father was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was a retired school teacher at the time of his death. Her mother was born in Lunenburg, Hants Co. Nova Scotia. On October 8, 1913, Madeline married Major General Clarence L. Tinker in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was the highest ranking Native American Officer and the first to reach that rank. There were three children, Clarence Leonard “Bud” Tinker J. (1915-1944), born January 15, at Schofield Barracks, Honolulu, Hawaii, Madeline (Midge) Tinker (1917-1997) born August 5, in San Francisco, California, and Gerald Edward “Tim” Tinker (1927-2003) born June 30, in Washington, DC. Madeline’s husband, Major General Clarence Tinker began his long military career in 1908 as a member of the Philippine Constabulary. In 1912 he became a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry of the United States and through the years was promoted through every rank to Major General. In 1926 he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for heroism in rescuing a naval officer from a burning plane in London where he was stationed at the time. He transferred into the Air Force in 1920 and was both a command pilot and a combat observer. In the 1930s he and several Generals were chosen to find an appropriate site for an airfield in the Southwest and he was instrumental in getting the military to place MacDill Field in Tampa. He was the first Commander of what later became MacDill Air Force Base. He was killed on June 7, 1942, when his plane, a B-24 en-route to Wake Island from Hawaii, was lost at sea. Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City is named for him. When Madeline received word that her husband was reported lost south-west of Midway, she was manning the air raid warning center in Tampa, Florida. She didn’t tell anyone and spent the whole day at work. She said, “spotting aircraft was her duty”. The sorrow she encountered continued. Before World War II was finished, she would lose her oldest son and son-in-law. Her son, Clarence Leonard Tinker took his military entrance exam in 1937 when the family lived in the Washington area. His father was the chief of aviation division, National Guard Bureau. In 1939 his father made the presentation of his son’s diploma upon graduation from the Air Corps Advanced Flying School. In 1943 he was assigned to the 14th Fighter Group stationed in North Africa. He joined the group at Mohammedia, near Casablanca in March 1943 as an Operations Officer. On May 19, 1944 Major Tinker was leading a flight of P-38s out of Tunisia toward Pantelleria Island off Italy when German fighters were encountered. His plane was shot down and like his father his body was never recovered. Madeline’s daughter, Madeline (Midge) Tinker, married Byron Elias Brugge (b. 1908). They had two sons, David and Stephen. Byron graduated from West Point in 1934 and trained as a pilot. In December 1944, he flew on a mission from Saipan over an aircraft factory near Tokyo, serving as a flight observer on the “Rosalia Rocket” a B-29 aircraft. The plane was shot down, but he was able to parachute out of the plane. He was captured and taken to a Japanese prison. There he was interrogated for a month by the Kempetai, the Japanese Secret Police. He died on on March 4, 1945, from malnutrition as well as the effect of the beatings and other torture to which he had been subjected. As a member of the Air Corps’ Ladies Song Committee in 1939 Madeline and the wife of another Army Air Corps General helped choose the anthem for the US Air Force “Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder”. They went through hundreds of entries until a music teacher turned in his composition, and Madeline McCormick liked its “zip”. With the end of World War II, Madeline remained in Tampa, Florida with her children and her mother. She married Air Force Colonel Charles McCormick in the 1950s, a former Air Force Pilot. Her second husband died in 1973. She remained active at MacDill, involved with the Red Cross and training nurses. Over the years she came to know President Roosevelt, and was a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. President Eisenhower she knew well enough to call him Ike. She knew Douglas MacArthur and the Duke of Windsor. She was honoured on her 100th birthday at the Officers Club at MacDill Air Force Base. The Base Commander, Colonel Charles Ohlinger, announced she would have a building named after her – the Madeline McCormick Family Support Center. “You don’t think they’ll make me give a speech, do you?” she whispered to a neighbour sitting beside her. She was assured all she had to do was blow out the candle on the big cake and smile which she did in between a few tears of happiness. Madeline Doyle Tinker McCormick died on February 3, 2000, at the age of 104 years. She is buried in Myrtle Hill Memorial Park, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida. She was survived by her son, Gerald Tinker of Bonita, California, a stepdaughter, Jean Joiner, of Lake Panasoffkee, eleven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
husband Major General Clarence Tinker, Madeline Tinker, and son Clarence Leonard Tinker