John W. Carpenter
Technical Sergeant
U. S. Army Air Corps
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 9/6/1935 - 10/13/1945
Supply NCO, 88th Air Service Squadron

"You were worse than dirt," says John of his status as a recruit when he joined the U.S. Army on September 5, 1933. His life began poor too. He was born in Minneapolis. After his father was killed, his mother re-married, and they moved near Batesville, Ohio, where he attended a one-room schoolhouse. He joined the military the year he finished high school, entering Fort Sill, Oklahoma and serving in Battery A, First Field Artillery. Hoping for acceptance into the U.S. Army Air Corps, John hitchhiked to Shreveport where he joined the Sixth Air Base Squadron at Barksdale Field. Completing his hitch and given a draft deferment, John entered civil service at Barksdale in 1940 as an aircraft inspector. "In September of 1943 I reported two officers for stealing automobile tires. One of them was my boss. My draft deferment disappeared," he recalls. John shipped out to England with the Seventh Air Depot, Eighth Air Force. At age twenty-nine, he crossed the English Channel aboard a large fishing vessel and climbed down rope nets to splash ashore at "Omaha or Utah Beach." In Europe he was transferred to the Eighty-Eighth Air Service Squadron, 312th Fighter Group, Ninth Air Force, and served at air bases of P-47s and A-26s. John received a Bronze Star. He was discharged as a tech sergeant at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Mississippi in August of 1945. Returning to Shreveport, he worked at Barksdale until 1950, then re-entered the U.S. Air Force, retiring in 1980. He later helped found the Northwest Louisiana Food Bank.