Originally Published: November 10, 2015 7:41 p.m.
John A. Mortimer
City of Residence: Prescott
Branch of Service: U.S. Army
Dates of Service: 1942-52
Colonel John. A Mortimer, a.k.a. "Laddie," served under General George Patton, a.k.a. ole "guts and glory."
As a World War II combat veteran in the U.S. Army (1942-52), I fought in Germany in the bloody Battle of the Bulge.
Called to action during the Korean War, but instead I landed up stateside. I was assigned to observe Ground Zero testing of the atomic bomb.
Awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and three Battle Stars in the European Theatre Operation. A graduate of the Command and General Staff College. Lifetime member of the Reserve Officers Association - Active Reserves (1952-70).
Served on the Honor and Color Guard, Post 6 American Legion. Presented our American flag at military funerals to the families of our fallen heroes.
Volunteered for decades at Prescott VA Hospital. What a smashing surprise when the VA honored me with the 2014 award for "Volunteer of the Year."
Past commander of the American Legion. Past president of Rotary International. Honorary lifetime member of the Elks, DAV and VFW.
No longer a young whippersnapper, but I still recall reconnaissance, as a forward leader of my platoon in WW II in the 91st Chemical Mortar Battalion.
During the Battle of the Bulge, I survived an enemy booby trap - but it sent me flying and I landed up with a concussion. I survived again during heavy mortar shelling. The enemy blew a building to smithereens. To crown it all, the ceiling collapsed on top of me, smothering me in debris.
To this day, I get flashbacks from the ceiling of being buried alive, but I'm a lucky devil to still be around to tell my tales from the trenches. As Gen. MacArthur said, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."
Now I'm confined to a wheelchair. Wonder: "When did my wild oats turn into shredded wheat?" Pressing on regardless. They still call me "Laddie" - 'cause I'm only 96.