195th Ordnance Depot Company
Born December 9, 1923, in Richards, West Virginia
WWII Service: 1943-1945
John was a laborer in a cabinet factory with an eighth-grade education when he was drafted into the Army, transferred to a Maryland boot camp, and deployed to England. There he worked in a massive warehouse managing parts for trucks, tanks, and other vehicles engaged in the war effort— a position that soon led to work behind the wheel.
Delivering munitions and fuel meant risky journeys to the frontlines. A wrong turn could prove fatal, and not only due to roving German patrols. One night in Belgium, John accidentally drove through a minefield—but survived. “I think I was the luckiest man in the whole Army,” he recalled.
Though John’s work did not involve combat, he could not escape its horrors. When his unit landed on Omaha Beach to supply the 29th Infantry Division on the Normandy campaign, he saw Allied casualties—mostly paratroopers—everywhere he looked. “You had to drive off the road to keep from hitting the dead.”
John credited his nature for surviving trauma from the war. “I’m not an emotional guy,” he said at age 95, while expressing gratitude for returning home safely to raise a family. “I’ve lived a full life.”