John was born on the 17th of October, 1874 in Finland and he joined the US Navy. Shortly after, he deployed to serve in the Spanish-American War and it was his actions as a Seaman that would earn him the Medal of Honor. The citation reads:
On board the U.S.S. Nashville during the operation of cutting the cable leading from Cienfuegos, Cuba, 11 May 1898. Facing the heavy fire of the enemy, Eglit set an example of extraordinary bravery and coolness throughout this action.
After the War, John continued to serve in the Navy. He was a passenger on board the SS Monroe that had left from Norfolk, Virginia for New York City when it was struck by the SS Nantucket and sank on the 31st of January, 1914. John Eglit was deemed lost at sea and he has a memorial grave in Arlington National Cemetery: Section MI, site 306A.