As a student at Notre Dame, John and his roommate enlisted in the Naval Reserves. He was called up when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and was allowed to finish his studies in an accelerated program.
He first applied for submarine duty but “flunked that.” He then trained in underwater demolition. He was shipped to the South Pacific where he spent 30 months. He became a Beach Master. It was his responsibility to go in with the Marines. While on the beach he would direct the supply ships and would send the wounded and dead out to the hospital ship. He relayed one incident where someone tried to counterman his order to bring men out to the waiting ship. He had to pull a gun to make sure the LSV1 would bring the wounded out to the ship. Several years ago he ran into one of the marines who was transported to that ship. The now civilian told John he saved his life.
John saw duty on Saipan, Guam, New Guinea, Iwo Jima and several other islands. John was impressed with the number of graves on Iwo – 2,605. He was eventually sent to Hawaii for a rest. While there he was told to go to Manila to prepare for the invasion of Japan. John feels that dropping the Atomic Bomb saved his life and that of many other GIs.
After the war, John went to the University of Detroit Law School but never practiced. He got married, had five children and went into the hotel business. Now he is in Economic Development, trying to “sell” Farmington Hills.