John D Bulkeley
John was born on the 19th of April 1911 in New York City and he grew up on a farm in Hackettstown, New Jersey. He graduated from Hackettstown High School and he went on to graduate from the US Naval Academy in 1933. John was a lieutenant in command of motor torpedo boat squadron three at the beginning of World War 2. This was a detachment of six motor torpedo boats in the Philippines and it was his actions during the first four months of the war that would earn him the Medal of Honor. The citations reads:
For extraordinary heroism, distinguished service, and conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as commander of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3, in Philippine waters during the period 7 December 1941 to 10 April 1942. The remarkable achievement of LCDR Bulkeley's command in damaging or destroying a notable number of Japanese enemy planes, surface combatant and merchant ships, and in dispersing landing parties and land-based enemy forces during the 4 months and 8 days of operation without benefit of repairs, overhaul, or maintenance facilities for his squadron, is believed to be without precedent in this type of warfare. His dynamic forcefulness and daring in offensive action, his brilliantly planned and skillfully executed attacks, supplemented by a unique resourcefulness and ingenuity, characterize him as an outstanding leader of men and a gallant and intrepid seaman. These qualities coupled with a complete disregard for his own personal safety reflect great credit upon him and the Naval Service.
John had picked up General MacArthur, his family, and immediate staff when they were evacuated from the Philippines and later, as a lieutenant commander while helping raise wear bonds, met former ambassador to Britain Joseph Kennedy, the father of John F Kennedy. He was instrumental to recruiting JFK into the Navy's Motor Torpedo Boat Training Center in Rhode Island.
Tow years later, John would participate in the Normandy Invasion where he led the torpedo boats and minesweepers in clearing the lanes to Utah Beach. He also kept the German E-boats from attacking the landing crafts and picked up wounded sailors from the sinking USS Tide, USS Rich, and USS Corry. After the invasion with command of his first large ship, the USS Endicott, John came to the aid of a British ship that was under attack by two German warships. Even though his largest gun was still smaller than the guns on the enemy ships, he not only fought for days but when it came down to only one working gun, he charged and engaged both enemy warships at point blank range and sunk both. Not only were the British sailors in the water saved, but many of the German sailors as well.
After World War 2, John commanded Destroyer Division 132 during the Korean War and after the war, he went on to command Clarksville Base in Tennessee. He was known to test the alertness of the Marines on guard of the base by dressing up in a ninja suit and blacking out his face and attempting to penetrate the classified areas at night without detection of the Marines carrying loaded weapons. Later, he was promoted to Rear Admiral by President Kennedy and was dispatched to command the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. After 42 years, John retired from the Navy but was recalled to serve as the commander of the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey, which inspects vessels before their commission and deployment. He then retired in 1988 after 55 years of service and lived out the rest of his life in Silver Spring, Maryland. John Duncan Bulkeley died on the 6th of April, 1996 at the age of 84 and he received full honors when buried in Arlington National Cemetery; section 5, lot 129-9.