Prepared by: Roy Bernard Quady (friend)
John Webster McCormick Jr. was born into a Navy family on January 9, 1944, in Newport, Rhode Island. He was the first child of John ‘Jack’ Sr., USNA Class of 1935, and Marjory ‘Jerry’ McCormick. John was a 1957 graduate of Sacred Heart School and attended Coronado High for his freshman year. He graduated from Yokohama High School in Japan and from Villanova University in Pennsylvania where he completed Naval ROTC.
In September 1965, he was sworn into the Navy by his uncle, Rear Admiral James McCormick. He left for Vietnam on October 1, 1966, and volunteered to serve with the 3rd Marine Division as a Naval Gunfire Liaison Officer in connection with operations against insurgent communist forces in the Republic of Vietnam. On May 18, 1967, during Operation Beau Charger, John was killed during a heavy enemy mortar attack. He was 23 years old and had participated in 12 prior operations.
John was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the third highest military award for acts of gallantry in combat against an enemy of the United States.
The citation reads, in part:
“Ensign McCormick fearlessly exposed himself to intense fire to direct and adjust supporting fires against enemy entrenchments. Maneuvering his gunfire-spotting team into more advantageous positions from which to observe friendly fires, he courageously disregarded his own safety while he moved from one position to another, encouraging his
men and adjusting supporting fires with exceptional accuracy.
As enemy fire intensified, Ensign McCormick directed his men to covered positions while he continued to expose himself to the hostile fire to adjust friendly artillery missions. Although he sustained severe fragmentation wounds, he refused assistance and, urging his men to remain in their relatively secure positions, maintained radio contact with friendly artillery
units, directing their fires until he was no longer able to move.
His indomitable fighting spirit and steadfast determination were an inspiration to all with whom he served and contributed significantly to the accomplishment of his unit’s mission. By his extraordinary courage, bold initiative, and selfless devotion to duty, Ensign McCormick upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
He is buried at Fort Rosecrans next to his parents.