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#30 Leonard F. Wing ’45, POW and Hometown Hero

Bicentennial Admin 200 Things about Norwich, Military Milestones

Leonard Wing receiving the Distinguished Alumnus AwardLeonard F. Wing, Jr. distinguished himself as a leader in the military, in his civilian career, and in his community. He escaped from a German POW camp, served in the Vermont National Guard for over 30 years and was a prominent attorney and father of nine in Rutland, Vermont.

Wing grew up in Rutland and entered Norwich with the class of 1945. He entered military service in the spring of 1943, when the entire Corps of Cadets was sent to serve in World War II. On Thanksgiving Day, 1944, Wing was captured in Germany. He spent time in several POW camps before staging an escape into Allied territory.

Wing reported that he and the other POWs were treated well in the camps, although food was in short supply. They depended on Red Cross rations, but made the most of it by cooking creative recipes with the rations. Wing was also cheered to meet fellow Norwich men in the camps.

Wing was decorated for his sacrifice during World War II. After the war, he completed his junior year at Norwich before enrolling in Boston University’s law school. No sooner had he completed his law degree than he was called back to active duty and spent two more years overseas in Korea. He subsequently served in the reserves for over 30 years, retiring with the rank of Brigadier General.

Following his active military service, Wing returned to Rutland, where he joined a law firm started by his father, Leonard F. Wing, Sr., who was a trustee and honorary degree recipient of Norwich. Back in Rutland, Wing, Jr. served as president of the Vermont Bar Association and was a member of the Rutland Chamber of Commerce and the School Board as well as the Elks, Moose, American Legion, VFW, and Knights of Columbus. He was also a longtime member of the Norwich Board of Fellows, receiving a Distinguished Service Award in 1986 and endowing a scholarship for Rutland-area students.

Leonard Wing passed away in 2005. He exemplified the Norwich values of service to country, community, and alma mater. From the front lines in Germany to his beloved Vermont community, he left a mark of Norwich pride wherever he went.

You can learn more about the life and legacy of Leonard Wing by asking for his file in the Norwich University Archives.