Mr. John “Jack” Edward Howlett was born on March 3, 1917 in Chadwicks, New York, and was a noble and brave member of the United States Military who served with distinction and courage during World War II.
At the age of 16, Mr. Howlett left home to work for the Civil Conservation Corps, a public works program that put more than three million people to work during the Great Depression. One year later, in 1937, he enlisted in the United States Army and was sent to the Philippines, where he became a drill sergeant in the U.S. Coastal Artillery. In 1939, Mr. Howlett was honorably discharged from the military. He went on to serve in the Army Air Corps (now the U.S. Air Force) and was stationed at Mitchel Field in Garden City.
In late 1940, during World War II, Mr. Howlett was called back into active service. He again served as a drill instructor and then was sent back to the Philippines for combat as a member of the 129th Infantry, 32nd Division, where he led an outnumbered force against heavily entrenched enemy positions. After his command leader was killed, Mr. Howlett took over the company as platoon leader. He would subsequently assist in the search and capture of Japanese General Yamashita. For this heroic action, Howlett received a Bronze Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster.
Mr. Howlett was involved in numerous combat operations and awarded two Bronze Stars for Valor with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantry Badge, Presidential Unit Citation, and other medals. He later received the New York State Distinguished Service Cross Medal for his actions during World War II.
In 1941, Mr. Howlett married his loving wife, Christine, and they were the proud parents of Joan and Charles. Mr. Howlett worked for Magee Fuel Oils until his retirement, and he and Christine participated in the Fresh Air Fund, helping inner city children spend two weeks each summer living with his family. They also served as foster parents for three children, and they took care of Christine’s youngest brother, Joseph, who was born blind and had special needs. Mr. Howlett was very active in Catholic War Veterans and was also a member of the American Legion Post 1738. A true American hero, Mr. Howlett lost Christine two months before he passed away on July 9, 2004 at the age of 87.