In Loving Memory Of
John P. "Jack" Dowd
(1922 - 1997)
Date of Birth: May 07, 1922 - Omaha, Nebraska
Date of Death: June 15, 1997 - Omaha, Nebraska
Dates aboard the USS Inaugural: 12/30/44 - 02/11/46
December 1944 Rank: Signalman 2nd class (see ranks section)
WWII & Life After:
(Compiled by Jack's wife, Helen Dowd, with the aid of Jack's notes and discharge papers)
Jack enlisted 30 July 1942 and began his military service with basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. This was followed by visual communications training (including semaphore and flashing light) at the University of Chicago and at the USNR Training Center in Los Angeles, California, before being assigned to teach navigation and communications to naval and marine officers in Los Angeles (MERSIG School). In the fall of 1944, he continued teaching communications back at the University of Chicago until assigned to sea duty in November 1944 and becoming a member of the original crew of the USS Inaugural.
Aside from the official history of the Inaugural’s tour of duty, Jack told of memories of the Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles in 1943, of floating mines, whales, porpoises, and torpedoes at sea, of his sighting Guam with binoculars at night when they were about to impact it, of an adventuresome mail run on Okinawa, of fear reigning during Kamikaze attacks and raging typhoons, of experiencing Nagasaki and Sasebo, and best of all – of coming home safely. He wrote that perhaps his most important duty with the blinking light was searching out new movies that could be obtained from other ships. Some of his lighter shipboard moments involved winning goodly sums from wagers and card games. Regular pinochle partners included Sorrelli, Murray, Sklopan, and Solomon.
After discharge 19 February 1946 and upon returning to Omaha, Jack enrolled at Creighton University in an accelerated program, subsequently graduated from the University and from the Creighton School of Law, and was admitted to the Nebraska State Bar in June 1950. He was employed by Aetna Life and Casualty Company for 26 years in claim and casualty work. He retired from Aetna in 1976 and worked four years for National Indemnity Company. He retired on disability in 1981.
Jack enjoyed hunting and fishing in his younger years and was an avid golfer. Like many others, he read a great deal aboard ship, continuing this pursuit throughout life. He loved the letter of the law, playing bridge, and a good argument. He couldn’t turn down an arm-wrestling challenge, became a C-Span junkie after retirement, and enjoyed movies and sporting events on television. He never gave up on the Cubs, and he worked crossword puzzles daily (assisted by a magnifying glass in his later years). He and his wife, Helen, had three children. These children have produced nine grandchildren. Jack was very proud of his naval service, of his Irish heritage, and of his family.
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