John B. Whitehead was born on October 10, 1912 and lived in Litchfield County, Connecticut. John was one of four children. The family moved to Bucks County in 1918, then later Newtown Square, then to Spring City. John graduated from Spring City High School in 1932. After graduation, John was employed by the Farm Department at the Allentown State Hospital.
John entered service in the Army at the age of 32 on April 1st, 1942. He received training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and assigned to serve with the 306th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division. The 77th “Statue of Liberty” Division was activated in May 1942, and sent overseas to Hawaii later that month. John’s Division entered combat with invasion of Guam in the Marianna’s in July.
The 77th Division participated in the liberation of the Philippines in October, 1944, specifically in the Ormac Valley on the western side of Leyte Island.
John’s Division was part of the Okinawa operations which began on April 1, 1945
Staff Sergeant John B. Whitehead was killed in action on May 14, 1945 fighting against the enemy defenses of Shuri, Okinawa. He is buried at the Honolulu Memorial Cemetery in Hawaii.
John received the Bronze Star, and Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Good Conduct Ribbon, Combat Infantry’s badge, Expert Rifleman’s Badge, Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with 4 stars, American Theater Ribbon and the Victory Medal. John’s awards were presented posthumously to his father by Lt. Donald MacMullen, at a brief formal ceremony on December 17, 1946.
His brother Edward was lost at sea in 1938 on the Destroyer USS Paterson DD-392 while on patrol in the pacific.