I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Loving Memory of Master Sgt. John R McInnis, Jr.

The military has always been a part of my life. My father, whose wisdom I still rely on and who lives in Brandon, was a Naval aviator. He has many friends who made the Navy their life- long way of life. I understand, to some extent "military" families. 
But, for the first time in my life, I really watched war movies ALL weekend.
As I watched these movies, I absorbed the horror of it all and was struck by the true sacrifice these men and women gave for our country and its people.Whether treading water for days on end, or storming the beaches of Normandy or being involved in hand to hand combat, it's amazing what these people endured.
How could you NOT be grateful to them?
 If you've never taken a few hours and watched true heroism as portrayed in these OLD movies, take the time today. If you don't have time to watch, then just look around at everything you have...
those heroes are why you are able to live in the best country in the world. I've been told that the movies aren't the same as the reality...very probably true, but it's the closest to reality that I can get.
In honor of Memorial Day,
I'd like to remember my husband's father and his remarkable life and death story.
 John R. McInnis, Jr. was a native of Jefferson Davis county Mississippi. He was one of 7 children and grew up in the Clem community. The Clem community is just a little speck of a place in one of the smallest counties in the state, but it's typical of the "homes" of so many of the men and women who fought the wars in WWII and Korea. Johnny, as he was called, was All Army in basketball and football (imagine that!)
He entered the service July 17, 1941 and served in the European Theater with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was briefly a POW and was wounded in the Italian Campaign. He returned to the states in 1944. In 1948 he volunteered for parachute duty and was stationed in Japan until his unit was called to Korea in July of 1950. (My husband, John III, was one year old at the time and he and his mother were in Japan with Johnny celebrating John III's first birthday. John III and his mom returned to the US shortly after Johnny was called into action.)
  (Johnny, John III and mother, Anna pictured above right in Japan. John R McInnis Sr is pictured top left.)
It was believed that "Johnny was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. The division was the first American one to do battle in the Korean War after North Korea launched a general attack across the border on June 25, 1950" (incidentally MY first birthday.)
Johnny's  unit was one of the first to paratroop into enemy territory.
 "Information received reveals that his battalion was stationed in an area where a battle occurred between the Americans and Koreans between July 7 and 10. Later reports say that virtually all of that unit was killed." (Government officials believe he died in the Cho Nui battle on July 11, 1950.)
Johnny was declared MIA on July 10, 1950.
Now here's the kicker to this story...after all the years of heartache and the uncertainty that the family endured, on October 30, 1981, they received notice that Johnny's remains, his helmet and dog-tag had been found by a South Korean policeman. (Also part of a wallet, comb and lighter and other assorted items.)
The grave was reportedly shallow as if the body had been buried hurriedly.

Pictured below are local villagers and Chi Kapchong,
 chairman of the non-profit non-political U.N. Korean War Allies Association
who led in a silent prayer for the fallen soldier.
(This act of kindness was very much appreciated by the family, as you can imagine.)
A member of the Associated Press learned of the find and the news surfaced before anyone had time to contact us. John III learned of the discovery of the remains by way of a phone call from his Aunt Jean Booth who had heard the news on WDAM television in Hattiesburg.We were in close contact with Congressman Sonny Montgomery's office for the next two months.
After the remains were flown to Hawaii, there was positive identification of Johnny.
The remains were flown home in February with a military honor guard which stood guard 24/7 until the service at the Phalti Baptist Church and burial in the church cemetery. A rifle salute was followed by Taps and according to military tradition, the American flag that covered the coffin was given to John III., who was 31 at the time, the same age as Johnny was when he was killed.  
Below is pictured Johnny with his one year old son, John III.
I always initial documents with AMc rather than just AM...wonder why?
It's in honor of the last name McInnis....not just any ole name...but one of honor and sacrifice.
 Master Sgt. John R McInnis's, Jr. life and loss of  his own life ensured his family's name would be remembered with honor and respect.

In memory of all those who gave all they could,


Libby said...

A wonderful tribute!

Amanda said...

What a story! Thanks for sharing!