John's military career began in High school where he became the top officer his ROTC unit. .At that time he also took flying lessons and received his pilot's license. After graduation he was a student at
Southern California University in 1940 when he attracted the attention of the British soldiers who were there to recruit young men for the British military. America was not yet in the war. Great Britain was then in a perilous situation in their war against Hitler and the Nazis They immediately recruited him for the RAF. After only two weeks training in the A-20 plane in Canada, he was sent to North Africa with the RAF ,flying missions against General Rommel and the Nazi tank units there.He chased the tanks from the air strafing and bombing them
wherever they went in North Africa until his plane was shot down and he was severely wounded.
He was returned to Great Britain for treatment. When he finally recuperated the American forces were in Great Britain and he was transferred to the US Army Air Force B-17 92nd Bomb Group--the Flying Fortresses. .
This was hazardous duty indeed . A B-17 crewman stood only a 25% chance of surviving the required 25 missions before he could return to duty in other areas They were flying strategic daylight bombing missions over Europe without fighter protection most of the way. John ultimately flew 27 bombing missions in many different B-17s in many different positions For an excellent video about this check out : "All the Fine Young Men"
After the war he returned to college and a civilian career but was recalled during the Korean war when he decided to stay in the AF. He spent most of his career in TAC instructing jet fighter pilots and later as Squadron Commander of A and E units He retired from active duty in 1969 with an impressive collection of medals including the RAF Distinguished Flying Cross, The USAF Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf clusters,the Purple Heart and many, many others.
He made his home in Coca Beach, Fl. until his death in 2012 and burial in Arlington.
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