Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran John Joseph O’Leary. John served during World War II from 1942 to 1945.

John originally joined the United States Marine Corps following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He attended recruit training in Parris Island, South Carolina, and radio operator school in New York. John volunteered to become part of the newly formed 4th Raider Battalion out of Camp Pendleton, California, where he served as Col. James Roosevelt’s personal radio operator. After Col. Roosevelt learned that John had a college degree, John was sent to Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia, after 18 months of service.

After becoming an officer in 1944, John was sent to replace the 3rd Marine Division in Guam to take over a shore beach party with the 3rd Joint Assault Signal Company to retake the island from Japan.

In 1945, John was assigned to the 3rd Marine Regiment. He never touched the shore during this time due to his regiment being held in the reserve. John’s ship essentially became a hospital ship where the wounded from Iwo Jima would be treated. John has a signed copy of the photograph “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” by the photographer.

His 100th Birthday coincided with the 100th birthday celebration of the Marine Corps Reserve. On Dec. 21, 2016, John and his wife were the guests of honor at the Marine Corps Reserve celebration at Evergreen Community of Johnson County, Olathe, Kansas, making him the oldest Marine present.

Thank you for your service, John!

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Graphic By Joanna Specht: Joanna Specht is a student at Black Hawk College with a Major in Visual Communication. 

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Published on Sep. 27, 2017

Estimated reading time is 1.8 min.

Views to date: 99


  1. Kurtis Cardwell September 29, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Well done John!

  2. claudio Alpaca September 28, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Reading of us and speaking of us all,that is veterans of the day page, that what it speak of and make all aware of. Our life , surely a hard life but a choiced life we should ever renew, as we are making by ever, a life we should confirm for ever for a manifestation of our essence and nature. When we read of heroism we thinks to our determination on offer our life, on sacrificing , on serving, when we read olf heroism we find ourself on and have a confirmation, if needed, ours is a high life, is a life offered for country and people and we reason on what distinguish substantially us. Surely a heroism that is an essential one, a natural one for experession of our nature and manifestation of our will. What say if not we are men for whom serve is an indispensable one, without our life itself should not exist, what say if not we veterans are men for whom sacrificing is a honor point, an apex of our determination and love on making ourself a growing offering. On that is reasumed our life and our be, on that is make understandable why the history of a veteran is the history of alls, why speaking olf one is like speaking of us all and make people aware of the love we have for, of the why we are and act.

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