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The Suburbanite
  • Veteran of the Week, John Stover

  • John Dennis Stover joined the U.S. Army in January, 1941. He was assigned to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii on the island of Oahu for his basic training.

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  • Military Career
    John Dennis Stover joined the U.S. Army in January, 1941. He was assigned to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii on the island of Oahu for his basic training.
    He was there on December 7th, 1941, when the Japanese carried out their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. He told his daughter how the Japanese planes were so low that he and his fellow soldiers shot at them with their pistols.
    After the attack, he remained at Schofield barracks until August, 1943 when he shipped out for the south Pacific. He arrived in Australia where he went to Warwick Farms outside of Queensland on the northeast shore of the continent.
    There, he trained as a tank gunner. He participated in the invasion of Hollandia, New Guinea as part of the 41st Infantry Division in April, 1944. Following this, he then took part in the invasion of Leyte in the Philippines in October, 1944.
    After this assault he was scheduled for the follow-up attack on Luzon, but right before this occurred he was called to headquarters and told he had enough points to go home.
    The transport he was on was hit by a Japanese bomber and forced to return. He faired better on the second ship taking him home and made it back to the U.S. at the port of Seattle. After a train ride across the country to Atlanta, he was discharged.
    Post-Military Career
    After his discharge, Stover tried a number of different occupations. He farmed for a year, worked in copper and coal mines, and was employed in Detroit in an automobile factory. He also worked construction in several states.
    He finally settled down in Akron and worked as a tire builder at Goodyear before switching over to Firestone. Following a traffic accident, in which he was hospitalized for four months, he worked as a janitor until his retirement in 1980, after 30 years of service.
    Since then, he has spent his time enjoying retirement. 
    Recently, Stover had a chance to go to Washington, D.C., on the “Honor flight,” which takes World War II veterans to see the new World War II memorial in the Capitol.
    Instead of the normal one-day tour, he was able to stay in the Capitol a total of three days.
    This was done to honor of the veterans and highlight the new movie, “The Pacific.” While there, he had the opportunity to meet actor Tom Hanks and producer Steven Spielberg, who were instrumental in the production of the movie.
    Stover was married to his wife Freda in 1946. They were married for 57 years, until her death in 2004. They had nine children, 28 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren.