Company D, 511th PIR
April 27, 1923 - October 19, 2004 (Age 81)
Presidential Unit Citation, World War II Victory Medal, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Badge, Philippine Liberation Medal with service star, the American Defense Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three Battle Stars and one Arrowhead, Marksmanship Badge (unknown qualification)
I was born April 27th 1923 in Buffalo, New York. I was born at home and was an only child. My Father died when I was 11 years old, and Mother was placed in a hospital. I became a Ward of the State of New York and was placed in several homes. I cannot remember all of them. Children of that era had to help with the work, and at one of the places I stayed, on a farm, my chore was to milk the cows. I had to arise early, around 5 am to finish my chores before breakfast and school.
Later, I was placed back in Buffalo, and again, I stayed in several homes.
I joined the National Guard when I was sixteen years old, and discharged in the Spring of 1941 because I was underage. I met Esther when I was sixteen, as we went to the same High School and Church. I graduated from High School and from Junior College with a Certificate of Management.
I heard the news of Pearl Harbor and the Declaration of War while we wer getting ready to addend a Sunday evening Church service, as the news didn’t reach the East Coast until late that afternoon. I was working in a grocery store at that time. When drafted in January 1943 with active duty February 1943, I was working for Sterling Engine Company as a mechanical Induction Center at Ft. Niagara. In February 1943 I was in on the very beginning of Camp Mackall, North Carolina. I completed Jump School at Fort Benning and then was in Camp Polk, Louisiana.
Esther and I were married July 3, 1942. I liked the paratrooper boots, which were shown in news clips in theaters, and also the extra money because of our marriage. Esther was able to follow wherever I was stationed for eight months from March to November 1943.
As a fellow paratrooper of D Company, I was in New Guinea, the Southern Philippines, and jumped with D Company on Tagaytay Ridge, Luzon and was in the battle of Luzon. I recall how the Japs screamed and yelled at night, and then we couldn’t find them by day.
I went with D Company into Yokohama, Japan, for the occupation of that country, before the armistice was signed. I buried most of my memories of the war because I was not proud of the killing.
I was discharged November 28, 1945 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, as Private First Class, and went to work for Ford Motor Company in January 1945, and retired from Mercury and Ford Areo Space in January 1988.
Typed by Jane Carrico June 2004
If you would like to learn more about John's exploits within and the history of the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II, please consider purchasing a copy of the book WHEN ANGEL'S FALL: FROM TOCCOA TO TOKYO, THE 511TH PARACHUTE INFANTRY REGIMENT IN WORLD WAR II, available in the regimental online store, on Amazon or wherever military history books are sold.