Jack E. Giles
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 06/18/1942 - 04/20/1946
Botswain's mate, USS Chandeleur/USS Curtis

He was born in the family home on Arlington Street in Shreveport. His father followed oil booms as a boilermaker and pipeline welder. "Back in those days they called them boomers," Jack says of oil field workers. The family moved to Winnfield, Louisiana, but in 1938 returned to Shreveport where Jack played football at Fair Park High School. He quit school to join the U.S. Navy in 1942 at age seventeen. After boot camp in San Diego he was assigned to the USS Chandeleur (AV-10) a new seaplane tender. On its shakedown cruise, the Chandeleur sailed to Pearl Harbor and then to Espiritu Santos. Jack was transferred with several others to the USS Curtiss (AV-4), the flagship of Rear Admiral Aubrey Fitch. Volunteers were needed to fly on patrols in PBYs. "I volunteered for every one of them because I wanted to get on that fifty-caliber machine gun," Jack recalls. He later sailed to Guadalcanal and was stationed near Henderson Field. He went on patrols, and pulled guard duty. After more than a year of service in the Pacific, Jack returned to the United States in late 1944. After a short leave in Shreveport, he was stationed at Green Cove Springs, Florida, and then sent to diving school. He later served on diving crews to recover downed planes or to untangle anchor chains or hawsers. He recalls making "two or three" dives each week. After Jack was discharged in 1946, he attended Centenary College. He trained as a welder, and went to work for Bechtel Corporation. His company sent him to Saudi Arabia where he supervised crews of welders. While laying pipeline in South America, he and his boss, Ed Sole, were kidnapped by Colombian guerillas on December 10, 1985. While Jack was soon released from a camp in the Andes Mountain, Sole died in captivity the next June. After Jack retired from Bechtel, he worked for Atlas Refinery.