Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran John Joseph O’Leary. John served during World War II from 1942 to 1945.
John originally joined the United States Marine Corps following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He attended recruit training in Parris Island, South Carolina, and radio operator school in New York. John volunteered to become part of the newly formed 4th Raider Battalion out of Camp Pendleton, California, where he served as Col. James Roosevelt’s personal radio operator. After Col. Roosevelt learned that John had a college degree, John was sent to Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia, after 18 months of service.
After becoming an officer in 1944, John was sent to replace the 3rd Marine Division in Guam to take over a shore beach party with the 3rd Joint Assault Signal Company to retake the island from Japan.
In 1945, John was assigned to the 3rd Marine Regiment. He never touched the shore during this time due to his regiment being held in the reserve. John’s ship essentially became a hospital ship where the wounded from Iwo Jima would be treated. John has a signed copy of the photograph “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” by the photographer.
His 100th Birthday coincided with the 100th birthday celebration of the Marine Corps Reserve. On Dec. 21, 2016, John and his wife were the guests of honor at the Marine Corps Reserve celebration at Evergreen Community of Johnson County, Olathe, Kansas, making him the oldest Marine present.
Thank you for your service, John!
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Graphic By Joanna Specht: Joanna Specht is a student at Black Hawk College with a Major in Visual Communication.