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Hometown Vet: Springfield man served in Pacific in WWII

Hometown Veterans is a regular feature profiling Clark and Champaign County veterans. This week the Springfield News-Sun profiles John Grimm of Springfield.

Name: John Grimm

Hometown: Springfield

Current residence: Springfield

Family: Wife, Virginia (deceased); and children Beverly, Keith, Dwayne and Chris.

Career After the Military: Worked in the tool and die industry, machine repairman and electrician.

Hobbies: Raising cattle and working on cars.

Branch of Service: Navy

Did you join the military or were you drafted? Enlisted

Dates of Service and deployments/bases: 1943, Great Lakes Naval Base, Ill.; 1943, Naval Amphibious Training, Shoemaker, Calif.; 1943, Guam; and 1945, Okinawa, Japan.

Total time that you served? Two years

What did you do in the service? Ran naval LCVP small boats transporting troops to and from islands.

What did you gain from serving in the military? It was just part of growing up. I was just a farm boy going to school. I learned a lot but not a lot that I used in life.

What do you remember most about your service? From the time I went aboard the ship, there was always a blackout. You couldn’t light a cigarette at night so as to not let anybody know where we were at. The only thing we had on our boats was speed.

What stands out as something memorable? We were in Okinawa when the bombs to end the war arrived. We brought the personnel in to take over Japan. On the way home we went through the Panama Canal. It was interesting how it looked then.

What would you like readers to know about your military experience? I was just a little seaman transporting people on boats. I got to see things I otherwise couldn’t have seen. I just had a different home for a couple of years. At least I had a bed, not a foxhole. They tried to get me to sign up to stay in the Navy but I wanted to go home.

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you that we didn’t ask? I worked for 43 years as a machinist, repairman and electrician and was married to my second wife, Virginia, in 1957. She was the angel that came to my rescue. Opened my own shop in 1970, creating aluminum parts for horse racing that shipped all over the world.

Hometown Veterans is compiled with the assistance of local Vietnam veteran Randy Ark. To nominate a veteran, e-mail or or call 937-328-0363. Any veteran of any military branch, years of service and age is eligible to be profiled.

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