WARSAW — John Henry “Jack” Anglin, Clunette, was honored as Veteran of the Month at the Kosciusko County Commissioners meeting held Tuesday, July 24.
Anglin was born on North Lake Street in Warsaw on Nov. 21, 1921, the youngest of eight boys and one girl born to Washington and Grace Anglin of the Millwood area, north of Etna Green.
He spent his childhood working on the farm. He graduated from Atwood High School in 1939. His first job away from the farm involved putting soles on shoes at a shoe repair shop in Nappanee. He then drove a milk truck. It was when he delivered milk to the Wilson Cheese Factory off of Argonne Road in Warsaw that he met Elizabeth “Bette” Mikesell, who was a secretary in the office. Anglin and Bette had their first date on Oct. 30, 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, they decided to move their wedding from June of 1942 to New Year’s Eve 1941, since they assumed Anglin would be drafted to military service. In October of 1942, their first son, John Jr. was born.
In January of 1943, Anglin reported to the Army at Camp Perry in Port Clinton, Ohio, then attended basic training at Camp McCain in Grenada Co., Miss. He then went to Redding, Pa., to the 7th College Training Detachment of the U.S. Army Air Force for training as a pilot. Before he completed the college training, the program had enough trainees and was discontinued. All pre-ground forces personnel were returned to Camp Pickett, Va., where Anglin was assigned to the Cannon Company of the 78th Lightning Division.
In January of 1943, Anglin was deployed to active service in the European Theatre. He took a train from Warsaw to the New York Harbor. There, all soldiers boarded the MV Carnarvon Castle, a British ocean liner that was requisitioned to transport troops to Europe. They sailed from New York Harbor to Bournemouth, England. They then crossed the English Channel to the port at LeHavre, France, where the soldiers disembarked and waited inland to be sent into action.
Anglin remembers spending his birthday in a muddy foxhole somewhere in Eastern France while waiting to be moved to the frontlines.
Anglin was involved in several battles, including the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest, the longest battle on German ground during World War II; the Battle of the Bulge, the third most lethal American battle by the estimated number of Americans killed; and Battle at Remagen. Anglin’s brother, Bill, was injured in the Battle of the Bulge and later died from his injuries.
During the Battle at Remagen, in Remagen, Germany, Anglin was in a jeep performing reconnaissance along the Rhine River when he and his driver saw their first jet plane flying along, dropping bombs, in an attempt to destroy the Ludendorff Bridge.
A private home was selected to use as their command post, and the family moved in with relatives. The residents were not allowed to fraternize with the allied soldiers, but Anglin and his comrades would hide food and chocolate bars in the dresser drawers so that each day when the mother and her 5-year-old son would come to retrieve clothing and other items from their home, they would find the treasures.
After the bridge was captured, the allies moved across pontoon bridges into Germany, which was instrumental in ending the war in the European Theatre in May of 1945.
Anglin said one thing that comforted him while in battle was looking up at the moon from his foxhole at night. He knew it was the same moon that had shone the night before and would shine the next night over his brother, Bill, who was in action ahead, and their parents and wives in Indiana.
Upon returning from war, Anglin returned to his milk route. He and Bette bought a home just east of Etna Green where they lived with John. In 1947, their son, Neal, was born, then a daughter, Beth, in 1948 and another daughter, Sarah, in 1951. In 1951 Anglin and his brothers, Wallace and Dallas, founded Clunette Elevator in Clunette. Anglin retired from the elevator shortly before Bette passed away on Oct. 30, 2007, exactly 66 years from the day of their first date.
Anglin, who will be 97 in November, now lives west of Clunette. His son, John Jr., passed away in 2012. Anglin has eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.