Honored Veteran of the Year 2014-15 – John S. Hoover

Honored Veteran 2014 - John Hoover

Honored Veteran 2014 – John Hoover

John Sheffield Hoover was born on March 23, 1920, in Monmouth, Illinois.  His family moved to Pasadena, California when he was 3 years old.  He attended schools in Pasadena and Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS Degree in Government and Politics.  In 1944 he married Elizabeth Weitkamp and they had two daughters. John and Elizabeth have been married 70 years.

In all, John served 52 years in the Department of Defense.  He served in the Navy for 30 years, the last 6 years, from 1966 to 1971, in various offices of the Secretary of Defense.  The remainder in civil service and in offices of the Secretary of Defense.

John enlisted in the Navy on February 12, 1941, in Corvallis, Oregon, and was sent to the Naval Training Center in San Diego where he trained as a radio operator.  He spent the first 3 years of his career as a radioman aboard the Battleship Maryland, (BB46).  He was stationed in “Emergency Radio” aboard the Maryland when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Battleship Maryland was moored inboard of the capsized Battleship Oklahoma, but received only minor bomb damage.

The remainder of the some 3 years aboard USS Maryland was served in military support at Tarawa, Peleliu, Kwajalein, Saipan and Leyte Gulf, in the Philippines. The Maryland was torpedoed in Saipan and Kamikazied in Leyte Gulf where, as the Captain’s radioman on the bridge, he survived the attack by the barest of margins as the Kamikaze pilot just missed the bridge.  A few days earlier, the Maryland and other “old battleships” lined up across the Surigao Strait entrance into Leyte Gulf to intercept a Japanese battleship force.  The result was effective use of the “T” formation, which is said to be the last in naval history.

From 1949 to 1951, John was a Chief Teleman running the communication office of Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, Commander Naval Forces Far East, with offices in Tokyo.   The President of the United States authorized the Bronze Star (non combat) for his services in connection with the military effort against North Korea. He was responsible for the changeover within Tokyo, from a peacetime communication center to a full wartime operation with an increase in message traffic of over 650 percent.

From 1960-1963, John was an officer in charge of Navy personnel in the U.S. Element of NATO, Southern Europe.

From 1963-1966, John served as Flag Secretary under three separate Commanders, Pacific Fleet Training Command.

From 1966 to March 31, 1971, as a Navy Commander, John served on the staff of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.

From 1972 to 1975, he served as Security Specialist in the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Policy Review.

In 1971, Commander Hoover received the Meritorious Service Medal from the President of the United States, through Secretary of the Navy, John Chafee, for his improvements in the development of security policy and procedures, which enhanced the national security from 1966 to 1971.

In 1991 John received a Meritorious Civilian Service Award from Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, for his contributions to the negotiation and conclusion of the US-USSR Maritime Transport Agreement in Moscow. His work in this area resulted in changes in port access and inter-agency organizational arrangements.

In 1992 the Director of the CIA, Bob Gates, awarded John the Meritorious Unit Citation for Exceptional Service; and, in 1994 he received another Meritorious Civilian Service Award from Secretary of Defense, William Perry, winding up 52 years in the Department of Defense.

John was initiated into Bend Elks Lodge #1371 in 1997.  He served as Loyal Knight and ENF Bend chairman, and then served ex post facto as Elks ENF “Bookkeeper” of Lodge contributions until just recently to attend to family needs.