Obituary Details

John Preston Gladson

(11/30/-0001 - 12/10/1944)
Courtesy of Johnny & Margaret Thon Files, 03/31/1945

Death of John P. Gladson in Naval Service, Confirmed in Message to Family Tuesday; Ship sunk in Dec.

Thon Book No. 4

Long months of anxiety over their son, Boatswain Mate 2/c John Preston Gladson, who was reported missing in a naval action last December 22nd came to a sorrowful end Tuesday, when Mr. and Mrs. James P. Gladson, the youth's parents, received word from Vice Admiral Randall Jacobs, confirming the sailor's death. The message follows:

Washington D.C.
April 24, 1945

Mr. and Mrs. James Preston Gladson
Lusk, Wyoming

The Navy Department deeply regrets to inform you that a careful review of all facts available relating to the disappearance of your son John Preston Gladson, Boatswains Mate Second Class USNR, previously reported missing leads to the conclusion that there is no hope for his survival and that he lost his life as result of enemy action on 10 December 1944 while in the service of his country. If additional information is received it will be forwarded to you promptly. Sincere sympathy is extended to you in your great sorrow.

Vice Admiral Randall Jacobs,
Chief of Naval Personnel.

Young Gladson had been in service since early in January, 1942, was sent to the San Diego naval base for training until March that year, when he was transferred to New Orleans for advanced training. He was assigned to active sea service in July, 1942.

His first ship was the S.S. Virginia Dare, which, as one of a large convoy, was attacked by enemy planes and submarines in the summer of 1943. The Virginia Dare was under almost constant attack for eight days but finally made its destination. In the attack, the gun crew of the ship was credited with bringing down at least seven of the enemy planes, for which Gladson and other members of the crew were cited with letters of commendation.

Several letters from Gladson's officers, received by his family since he was reported missing, were high in praise of the man's ability and splendid service.

A brother, Virgil Wm., seaman second class, is said to be serving with the U.S. fleet somewhere in the Central Pacific.

The Lusk Herald
May 17, 1945
Full Story of John Gladson's Loss Made Known To Parents

The death of Boatswain's Mate Second Class John Preston Gladson has now been confirmed. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Gladson of Lusk, and Mrs. Gladson states that they did not give the Herald the story until they felt that there was no further hope that their son might be alive, as another son, Virgil W. Gladson, S 2/c, somewhere in the Pacific, receives The Herald, and they wanted to spare him the sorrow in case the report might not be true.

The Gladsons first received a message just three days before Christmas, stating that their son was missing in Naval action.

Then on the 24th of April they received a telegram confirming his death as the result of enemy action.

The family also received a letter from Lieut. Harry L. Lippincott, who was a close friend of their son's, which we quote in part as follows:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Gladson:

All attempts to find words to express my personal feeling over the loss of your son, John, have been futile. I thought of him more like a brother and his loss is as deep as though he had been.

It is difficult for both of you, I'm sure, to reconcile yourself to his going. May you find some consolation, however, in the knowledge that he was doing his duty up to the last moment. When last seen he was assisting some of his shipmates into a life boat. Unfortunately, the life boat in which he and many others were in was capsized by an extremely rough sea and the men had no chance at all in such a cold and heavy sea.

I knew John for 18 months, and it was our hope that we could sail together for the duration. He was the most dependable, conscientious and loyal person I have ever known. He stood for all the finest traditions of the United States Navy. He is missing because he believed that what our country stands for is worth fighting for, and he was willing to risk his life, as so many millions of Americans are doing, in order that these beliefs might remain alive in this country and all over the world."

Besides his parents, he is survived by his brother, Virgil William Gladson, seaman second-class, who is with the U.S. Navy somewhere in the Pacific, and Douglas, who is still at home; also two sisters, Sadie and Deloris.

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