Media is loading


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

Columbia (Ala.)




White - Non Hispanic

Home State


War or Conflict

World War II



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage


Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Navy

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)

Highest Rank

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

United States


Richman, Andrew

Interview Date


Location of Interview

Veteran's Home.


Whitaker, John J.; World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives; United States. Navy

Collection Description

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


Richman, Andrew

Length of Interview

40 Minutes


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

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type