Our volunteer profile for November is on Jack Bretherton. Jack was born and raised in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. His parents signed papers for him his junior year in high school allowing him to join the United States Navy in 1943. After boot camp at Bainbridge, Maryland, he was sent to electrician mates school where he graduated with the rank of 3rd class Petty Officer. Jack didn’t realize that this distinction would keep him out of galley and laundry and other duties normally assigned to junior enlisted personnel.
Leaving school he received orders to the USS Janseen, DE-396, seen at right.
Jack served for 14 months on her in the Atlantic theater. Janseen served in several hunter killer groups defending convoys in the Atlantic, attacking and sinking German U-boats.
In 1945 Jack was transferred to the USS Haven AH-12 seen below. Both of Jack’s ships received Presidential Unit Citations (PUCs) during the war and so he is one of very few Navy personnel to have campaign ribbons from Atlantic and Pacific theaters of action and two PUCs from his service.
After conclusion of hostilities, the Haven received orders to the Japanese port city of Nagasaki to process Japanese prisoners of war (POWs).While there Jack received a tour of the devastated city. He said the images of destruction were truly amazing.
Jack recieved his discharge from the Navy on 21 April 1946, which just happened to be his 21st birthday!
He returned to high school, but didn’t use his GI Bill until he entered the University of Virginia in 1948, graduating with a degree in Economics in 1951. Jack went to work for a large manufacturing company outside Philadelphia, where he eventually became their purchasing agent and manufacturing representative. Jack worked several other jobs and retired several times, before eventually moving south to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina in 1994/5.
He was recruited as a volunteer for Patriots Point in 1994/5 by Don Zieglar and has been a steady and faithful guide for thousands of our guests! Thank you Jack! Patriots Point salutes you!