John T. Fike, Jr.
Seaman 1st Class
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 12/1943 - 5/1946
Seaman 1st Class, USS Kidd (DD-661)

He was born at home at 727 East Elm in El Dorado, Arkansas. When he was a 17-year-old junior at El Dorado High School he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December of 1943. After boot camp and torpedo school, John sailed to New Caledonia, and then was sent to Tulagi in spring of 1944 where he boarded the destroyer, USS Kidd (DD-661) as a seaman. At his battle station he served as "hot shell" man and later as an ammunition passer. He saw action at Saipan, Tinian, and Guam, among other naval engagements. The destroyer escorted the cruiser that carried General Douglas MacArthur to the Philippines. When the Kidd returned to California for repairs in 1945, John was transferred to the USS Cahuilla (ATF-152) a "fleet tub," as he calls it, that pulled barges and other vessels. John began working as a cook. He was in Buckner Bay, Okinawa, when Japan surrendered. He recalls jubilant shooting into the air from the beach. "It was a sight to see," he says, "but you had to stay inside the ship just for safety's sake." John sailed on to Nagasaki where his ship's crew cleaned the harbor and retrieved Japanese artillery shells stored in caves. From Japan the Cahuilla picked up a dry dock in New Guinea and towed it to Pearl Harbor, a six-week journey. By then John had earned enough points to go home, and sailed on the USS Lexington (CV-16). John went to work in the post office and married Marion Kelly, who had one daughter. They eventually had three grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Marion died in 1994. In 2000 John married Doylene Hudgens. John suffers from a lung condition he believes might have been caused by exposure to radiation at Nagasaki. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 1979.