John Petterway, Jr.
Technician 4th Grade
U. S. Army
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 06/26/1942 - 09/20/1945
Cook, 379th Port Battalion, 563rd Port Company

One of 13 children, he was born in a four-room log house in Shreveport to John and Laney Clay Petterway. His father was employed as a butcher for 50 cents a day. John left school at age 15, and worked "sunup to sundown" to supplement the family income. He raised cotton and grew sugar cane. Later, he did lawn work for a lawyer, making 50 cents a day. Even with that modest income he bought his first car, a Model T Ford car, for six dollars. John was working at Shreveport Country Club when he entered the U.S. Army in June of 1942. After basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, he sailed to Casablanca in North Africa, as a member of the 4394th Battalion. John spent most of his overseas service around the Mediterranean--in North Africa, Italy, and France. He served as a cook and as a hatch foreman and winch operator, handling such cargo as "tanks, trucks, and all kinds of ammunition" on a ship sailing between France and Rome. Enemy aircraft attempted to bomb his ship, he recalls. "They'd drop bombs close enough to splash water up on the ship," he says. John served in Naples, Italy, for eight months, then was sent to France. He was in Marseilles when the war in Europe ended. He was discharged in September of 1945. During his overseas service, he says, his New Testament helped sustain him. "My companion," he called it. "I thank God I made it back," he says. John returned to the country club where he worked for 39 years. He served as a Sunday School teacher and superintendent for 52 years at his church, Jewella Methodist Church.