John D. Alexander, Jr.
2nd Class Cryptological Technician
U. S. Navy
Korean War
Dates of Service: 04/01/1948 - 04/01/1953
Cryptologic Technician

He was born in Shreveport "just in time for the stock market crash," quips. J.D. Of the Depression, he says, "we always wondered what the poor people were doing. We didn't know we were poor!" J.D. was the oldest of seven children of J.D., an employee of Otis Elevator Company, and Margery Jane Carter Alexander. The family lived in the Cedar Grove neighborhood. J.,D. recalls attending the Grove Theater on 70th Street, and going downtown on Saturdays to see "cowboy movies" and serials at the Saenger Theatre. He worked a paper route for the Shreveport Journal, and as a carhop for Morris Dickson Drugs. He also worked as a soda jerk at Jordan Street Pharmacy, and as a bagger and shelf stocker for a grocer. "Stunned and mad as a hornet" is how he describes citizens upon hearing the news about Pearl Harbor. He was at Jordan Street Pharmacy when Japan surrendered. His father was transferred to Monroe where J.D. graduated from St. Matthew High School in 1947. He joined the U.S. Navy on April 1, 1948, along with a friend, Chuck O'Rourke. Leaving Northeast Junior College in Monroe, he took boot camp at San Diego Naval Training Center, then entered radio school. He was sent to Bainbridge Island in Washington State for communications intelligence school, where he learned Russian and Chinese language for traffic analysis. He was then posted to Adak, Alaska, where he listened to and copied Soviet communications. As a CT3, or Third Class Cryptologic Technician, J.D. worked on a World War II-era encrypting machine called the ECM Mark II. Stationed in Puerto Rico in September of 1950, he copied diplomatic messages sent to the Vatican. While in the Caribbean, J.D. earned his pilots license and flew for West Indies Airways. After his discharge at Brooklyn Navy Yard on April 1, 1953, J.D. founded Tri State Elevator Company on June 1, 1954, along with his father and Carl Baines, an employee at Otis Elevator Company. J.D. married Martha Brooks on December 26, 1959. They have three children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.