Oral History interview of John Whitaker. Interview conducted by Richman, Andrew at Veteran's Home.
0:28 Name, place and date of birth; 1:00 Enlisting in the Navy; 2:12 Personal Life and work before the war; 3:08 Basic training experience; 3:28 Being sent to and experience on the U.S.S. Vega; 4:20 Decision to join Navy; 4:55 Job on the ships; 6:40 Length of service; 9:20 Injury sustained on ship; 10:00 Experience during Pearl Harbor; 11:45 Average day at sea; 12:25 Enjoyment on the ship; 13:00 Food on the ship; 13:27 Staying in touch with family; 14:05 The officers on the ship; 14:40 Friends on the ship; 15:00 Number of people on the ships; 16:55 Combat on the U.S.S. Moale; 18:40 U.S.S. Moale description; 19:25 Most memorable ship; 20:10 Fighting in the Philippines; 21:32 Combat experiences with the Japanese; 22:28 Explaining the 2 medals he received; 23:06 Personal videography of the war; 24:04 What the day was like when the war was over; 26:06 Traveling through Japan after the war; 28:33 G. I. Bill & work after the Navy; 31:45 Work as a cobbler in Jacksonville; 34:49 Appendix surgery that the doctor made a mistake on; 35:59 VA hospital in 2004 did not have him in their records; 38:12 Navy forgot to discharge him after WWII until 1978; 39:15 How service experience affected his life after; 40:00 Closing Remarks/ Conclusion.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
White - Non Hispanic
War or Conflict
World War II
Begin/End date of Service - 1st
Entrance into Service
Branch of Service
Unit of Service
USS Vega (AK-17); USS Moale (DD-693); USS Stockholm (DD-683); USS Lejeune (AP-74)
Location of Service
Honolulu (Hawaii); Aleutians (Ark.); Luzon (Philippines); Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands, Japan); Okinawa (Japan)
Boatswain's Mate Petty Officer 1st Class; BM1
Prisoner of War
Service Related Injury
Battle of Luzon; Battle of Iwo Jima; Battle of Okinawa
Military experience: Honolulu December 7, 1941; February 9, 1943 occupation of Amchitka Island, Aleutians, Alaska, enemy bombing attacks on January 24th, 25th and 27th, 1943; Luzon attacks on November 19th to 20th, 1944; Luzon Operation (Mindoro December 12th to 18th, 1944 and Lingayen January 4th to 18th, 1944); Iwo Jima Operation from February 15th to March 16, 1945; Okinawa Operation June 6th to 28th and April 22nd to July 1945. Injuries - severe loss of hearing from exposure to military acoustic trauma.
Grew up in Winter Park, Florida. As a young boy arrived on train in Winter Park with family in 1923. Fire fighter for City of Winter Park in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Then, before enlisting in the Navy, worked as a chauffeur for Mr. & Mrs. Withers who had a winter home in Winter Park and summer home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
City of Birth
Country of Birth
Location of Interview
Whitaker, John J.; World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives; United States. Navy
Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.
Contributor Affiliation / Organization
RICHES; University of Central Florida
Length of Interview
Department of History, University of Central Florida
All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/
University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UCF Community Veterans History Project
Central Florida, RICHES of, "Whitaker, John J. interview" (2013). Veterans Oral Histories. 130.