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Jack Hartnell Navy

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Jack William Hartnell ("Smiling Jack") - 8981 Views
honored by Benjamin Jeffry Hartnell, Grandson


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Assigned: U.S.S. Henry T. Allen
Highest Rank: Boatswain's Mate (a.k.a. Bosun's Mate)
Entered Service: 6/1/1938
Exited Service: 9/3/1945
Foreign Service Length: 3 Years, 9 Months, 26 Days (12/8/1941 - 9/3/1945)
Continental Service Length: 3 Years, 6 Months, 7 Days (6/1/1938 - 12/7/1941)
Location of Service: Atlantic Theatre (2 combat landings) and Pacific Theatre (9 combat landings)
Gender: male
Basic Training: Racine, Wiscosin as part of Great Lakes Fleet
Service Related Injury: shrapnel in right leg during beach landing in Algiers in 1942
Military Position: Frogman (precursor of U.S. Navy SEALs)
Place of Separation: Chicago, Illinois
From City: Benton Harbor
From State: Michigan
Date of Birth: 05/1921
Date Deceased: 07/2002
My War Stories
  
  12/6/1941 By 1941, Jack found himself stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where he served as a Boatswain’s Mate. As such, Jack was in charge of training and supervising sailors in the maintenance and upkeep of a ship: from painting to rigging, and was in charge of several working parties. Jack’s prized possession while serving as a Boatswain’s Mate was his boatswain’s “pipe” – a shrill-sounding whistle used to summon the crew, etc. As the year unfolded, and as the war seemed to grow closer to the U.S., Jack took great interest in the handling of Underway Replenishment (or UNREP), which involved the transferring of fuel, munitions, and stores from one ship to another while docked, at sea, or during combat. Such duties were headed by the Boatswain and a cohort of 6 other men, forming a special bond among these 7 men. After 6 months of "maneuvers" and numerous training missions, Jack was granted a week's leave-of-absence to visit his wife Louise for their one year wedding anniversary. (They had been married December 14, 1940). She was living in San Francisco, California at that time working in the war factories as a "Rosie the Riveter". On December 6th, Jack left Hawaii. As history recalls, the next day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Six men from Jack's UNREP core were killed during the "date of infamy". Had he been in Peal Harbor that day, Jack would have been the 7th killed from this group. Nevertheless, Jack’s excellence in performing the duties of a Boatswain’s Mate and his involvement with UNREP led to his eventual training as a Frogman in the fall of 1942.
  1942 Jack participated in 11 combat landings during World War II. Two occurred in the Atlantic Theatre while the other 9 occurred in the Pacific Theatre during the "island hoping" strategy to inch closer to mainland Japan. Both of Jack's Atlantic Theatre landings occurred in North Africa. In particular, this included a landing in Algiers during the Battle of Algiers (November 8-10, 1942) as part of Operation Torch. Jack took shrapnel to his right leg during the landing and was later awarded the Purple Heart. Sadly, it was during the charge up the beach at this battle that Jack witnessed his friend "Red" get his head shot off.
  1942 During his landing in North Africa, as the Frogmen were often times sent ahead of the rest of the landing forces to scope things out, Jack and several within his core were stranded on the beach. The landing was adjusted and a letter was sent to Louise stating that Jack had been Killed in Action. This, of course, was not true. (Still, it would happen again, however, and you can imagine the trauma my grandmother must have felt to receive one of "those" letters.)
  1943 As one of Jack's 9 combat landings in the Pacific Theatre, he participated in beach landings and additional combat during the Battle of Guadalcanal (August 7, 1942-February 9, 1943) in the Soloman Islands, his first since returning from the leg injury suffered in Algiers just 2 months before. (He did not participate until January 1943.)
  1944 As one of Jack's 9 combat landings in the Pacific Theatre, he participated in beach landings and additional combat during the Battle of Guam (July 21-August 8, 1944) in the Mariana Islands.
  1945 As one of Jack's 9 combat landings in the Pacific Theatre, he participated in beach landings and additional combat during the Battle of Iwo Jima (February 15-March 26, 1945).
  1945 As one of Jack's 9 combat landings in the Pacific Theatre, he was moved 7 days before fighting concluded at Iwo Jima to participate in beach landings and additional combat during the Battle of Okinawa (March 18-June 23, 1945).
  1945 In what might have been his 10th combat landing in the Pacific Theatre, Jack was slated to participate in the invasion of Japan, had atmomic weapons not been used. The day after "Victory in Japan" (or V-J Day) on September 2, 1945, Jack was honorable discharged from the U.S. Navy. (Two months later, Jack's second son - my father Jeff - was born on November 5th.)

My War Awards
  • Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal - WWII
  • Navy Good Conduct Medal WW II Style
  • Purple Heart Medal (Jack took shrapnel in his right leg during the beach landing in Algiers as part of Operation Torch on either November 8th, 9th, or 10th in 1942. Sadly, it was during the charge up the beach that he witnessed his friend "Red" get his head shot off. Jack was given 30 days leave to tend to his wound before being transferred to the Pacific Theatre to partake in the beach landing at the Battle of Guadalcanal - already underway - in the Soloman Islands. He arrived in January 1943 and continued fighting there until February 9th.)
  • World War II Navy Occupation Service Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal
My War Pictures
Click on the pictures to enlarge.
        
  Gravesite for Jack and Louise Hartnell. Located in Traverse City, Michigan. Gravesite for Jack and Louise Hartnell. Located in Traverse City, Michigan. Jack W. Hartnell Jack W. Hartnell