John was born in Freeport, Illinois on March 4, 1918. His family moved to Jackson, Michigan during the influenza epidemic while he was very young.
He attended the University of Michigan from 1937 to 1942. While sleeping in on a Sunday morning, he and his roommate heard over the radio the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Eighteen of his friends went in for physicals, yet only three passed. John's eyes kept him out of the line officers. After several physicals, he was commissioned in the Navy in the spring of 1942. He became a staff officer in the supply corps - those responsible for the food and clothing in the Navy.
John was called up in January 1943 and sent to South Austin Naval Yard for basic training (note: transcriber could not verify the location of said naval yard). He was then sent to Harvard University untile the summer for supply officer education. He was assigned to Acorn 16 and sent to Port Wyneme, California to wait for the rest of the officers.
In September, Acorn 16 was officially commissioned into the Navy and was granted base personnel for airbases in the Pacific. The unit shipped out to Barber's Point in Oahu, Hawaii. From there, they were ordered to Apamama in the Gilbert Islands along with a Marine Corps unit and a CP unit. An airbase was constructed at Apamama in which John worked. John remembers very friendly Natives and nice weather in Apamama.
One incident sticks with John. A Japanese submarine was reported in the area. Despite the harsh weather, a scout plane was still sent out. the plane never returned. John was ordered to gather and send the missing man's belongings to his family.
After a little over a year, the airbase Apamama was shut down and John was transferred to Guam. He recalls mud and relentless rain in Guam. He was put in charge of the mess hall. Most of the food was canned, yet at one point they were sent fresh ground beef. Hamburgers were prepared for the men, which gave many a feeling of homesickness.
After the war, the Navy put together a class for those interested in aiding in terminating Navy contracts. John volunteered due to his business school training. He was sent to Harvard for the class. From there, he was sent to an office in Cincinnati, Ohio to clear plants for civilian production. Later on, he was transferred to the Naval Reserve and left as a Lieutenant Commander.