Not every military casualty occurs on the battlefield. During the Cold War, Provincetown lost 25-year-old Lt. (j.g.) Warren Frederick Witherstine (1932-1957) of the Naval Reserve. He was the son of the artist and gallerist Donald Frederick Witherstine and of Elsie May (Hallett) Witherstine, who served as an ensign in the Navy during World War I. They lived at 47 Commercial Street, just a few yards away from here. Warren was graduated from Provincetown High School in 1950, earning two superlatives in the Long Pointer year book: “Handsomest boy” and “Biggest appetite.” His pet peeve, he wrote at the time, was “losing a fish,” and his ambition in life was “to catch a world-record fish.” Warren earned a bachelor of science degree in 1954 from the New York State University College of Forestry at Syracuse University (now the College of Environmental Science and Forestry). That year, he was selected as a Naval Aviation Cadet. At the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., he married Linda Smyth in 1956. The couple were expecting their first baby in November 1957 when Lt. Witherstine, together with the leader of his carrier-based squadron, were killed as their jet fighters crashed in the Sea of Japan. At first, while the search was being conducted, Donald Witherstine — who was himself hospitalized in Pocasset — was not told of his son’s disappearance. Perhaps the family hoped to share happy news that the young man had been found alive. But that news never came.
For a view of the Steve Tom Nickerson Wharf, please see 55-57 Commercial Street.
For a view of the Western Cold Storage, please see 55-57 Commercial Street.
For a view of the West End Boat Launch, please see 55-57 Commercial Street.
For a view of the West End Lot, please see 55-57 Commercial Street.
For a view of the West End Lot Beach, please see 55-57 Commercial Street.
¶ Last updated on 29 June 2018. ¶ Image courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project, School Collection, Page 5537. (Long Pointer, 1950, Page 12.)
Warren Witherstine Square at the West End Lot, in 2014, by David W. Dunlap.
Witherstine, an officer in the Naval Reserve, was killed in 1957 when his jet crashed in the Sea of Japan. Photo of the commemorative marker, in 2013, by David W. Dunlap.