John Clifford Heidler, Jr.
635 20 39
|HOME OF RECORD:
143 Seneca Trail, Louisville, KY
|NEXT OF KIN:
Parents, John & Mary Heidler
|DATE OF BIRTH:
8/12/1943 – 6/15/1944
|DATE OF DEATH:
|LAST KNOWN RANK:
Hospital Apprentice, Second Class
John Clifford Heidler, Junior was born in Ohio on 27 August 1925. He lived in the village of Lucas until the early 1930s, when his father, a machinist, moved the family to Prince George’s County in Maryland. While Mary Klingensmith Heidler raised the two boys, John and Glen, father John Senior worked as a machinist in the Washington, D. C. Navy Yard. By 1940, John Junior was earning his own money with a paper route in Hyattsville.
In the early 1940s, the Heidlers relocated to Louisville, Kentucky. John Senior took a job at the Naval ordnance plant south of the city, and the boys enrolled at duPont Manual High School.
Heidler graduated in 1943 and, after enjoying a last few weeks of Kentucky summer, enlisted in the Navy Reserve on 12 August, shortly before his eighteenth birthday. He was selected for hospital school, and after passing the preliminary tests and Field Medical School at Camp Elliott, California, the young medical specialist was assigned to a replacement battalion bound for the Fleet Marine Force.
On 8 May 1944, Heidler dropped his seabags at Camp Maui. He was one of the new “HA-Deuces” – Hospital Apprentices, Second Class – along with Bennie Evans, Bertel Blomquist, and Thomas Hernan, Jr. The young corpsmen were the most junior medical personnel assigned to the First Battalion, 24th Marines, and had only a few days to acquaint themselves with their new comrades and duties before boarding the USS Calvert and sailing for the Marianas Islands. Despite – or due to – his inexperience, Heidler was full of confidence. “Don’t worry about me,” he wrote to his family on 10 June 1944. “I can take care of myself.”
John Heidler was killed in action on his first day of combat.
In 1948, Heidler’s remains were returned to Kentucky. He is buried in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.