John W. O'Neill
Ensign
N Division
USN
USS West Virginia
1939-1943

John W. O'Neill, Captain, born Oct. 24, 1918, in Newport, RI. He enlisted on June 27, 1936, and served in the USS West Virginia from 1939-43, where he rose from seaman to chief quartermaster to ensign. Caught en route back to the Wee Vee from Honolulu with his brother during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He survived the attack on another ship.

After serving as a member of the salvage crew for the Wee Vee, he participated in the invasion of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. In the following years, he had combat roles in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. He had six commands at sea and his 27 medals and ribbons include four Legion of Merits and two Bronze Stars. O'Neill retired June 30, 1974.

After earning a BA degree in public administration at San Diego State University, he served eight years on the Chula Vista, CA, Planning Commission. He and his wife, Bertha, have three children and four grandchildren.

Reprinted with permission from Turner Publishing


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