North Carolina

By Jordan C.
Grade 10, North Carolina

John Whales was born October 13th 1913 in Norfolk, Virginia. He went through his childhood with the endeavor of being a part of the service and to be able to fight for his country. He joined the military in 1942 and was then sent to the enemy lines in Europe. The first major battle that he was in ended up being his last...

Uncle John was a part of the infantry that stormed the beaches of Normandy, France also known by D Day. The first infantry was basically a suicide mission so the soldiers coming in after them could make it to the beach so they could lay some fire on the Germans. It was an extremely difficult situation to be in but Uncle John loved the military and was happy to be a part of it.

The storming took place on June 6th 1944 at a chilly 6:30 in the morning. Uncle John and 5,000 other water crafts were lowered into the water and were traveling to the beach. He could see his fellow Americans dying in front of him and the sound of the German machine gun fire ricocheting off the boats. Right before Uncle John's boat got to the beach he heard a huge explosion and then everything went black.

He woke up in a European hospital two weeks later covered in bandages. He was extremely confused and wasn't aware of how he got there. He later learned from a nurse that his boat had been clipped by German artillery sending him and his team into the frigid waters of France. The nurse later told him that he had a letter from his family; he was very excited to hear from them. He opened the letter and chuckled a little because inside it said that the service had sent them a letter explaining how he had died two weeks ago from a bomb going off on his boat. He wrote them back assuring them that he was still alive and would be able to come home soon.

The army released him after he recovered from his two years of service and the injuries he suffered from the explosion. The family learned that he probably would have died with the other 2,499 Americans if he hadnít fallen into the water and become unconscious. It was kind of ironic that what saved him was a missile hitting the boat. Uncle John stayed in the army reserves for 30 years until he was notified that his time was done. He started in the Army as a Private and finished with the respectable rank of a Colonel. Uncle John never looked back on his choice of being in the service and was glad to have served his country. John Whales is a great man and because of people like him I can proudly call the United States of America my home.

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