JOHN S. FANTONE, CAPT, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Fantone '39

Date of birth: November 6, 1916

Date of death: February 10, 1945

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


Loss

From Find A Grave:

1st Lt. John S. Fantone was held as a POW in the Philippine Islands. In December 1944, he was boarded onto the Oryoku Maru for transport to Japan. The ship came under attack from American planes on December 14th. As evening approached, the attack was called off. The next day the planes returned and continued the attack. The ship was sunk by American planes at Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, on December 15, 1944. The surviving POWs were boarded onto the Enoura Maru which sailed on December 27th and reached Takao, Formosa, by the New Year. While docked it was bombed by American planes on January 9, 1945, killing many of the POWs. The surviving POWs were boarded onto the Brazil Maru which sailed on January 13th and reached Japan on January 29, 1945. In Japan, he was held at Kobe Military Hospital where he died.

His mother was listed as next of kin.

Class of 1939 Marines at the Fall of Corregidor

At least seven Marines of the Class of 1939 were captured by the Japanese when Corregidor fell in May 1942; six of them perished in captivity. Four were awarded the Navy Cross for their heroism and distinguished service in six months of combat under arduous and increasingly desperate conditions. A fifth was awarded the Navy Cross for action in the Korean War.

Two men — William Hogaboom and Willard Holdredge — had extremely similar experiences, and are often mentioned together in after-action reports. Carter Simpson's was also similar; he also managed to keep an exceptionally interesting diary that survived the war. All three of these Marines were killed during or immediately after the attack on Oryoku Maru on December 14, 1945.

A fourth classmate, Ralph Mann, Jr., died in captivity in September 1942.

The final two, Hugh Tistadt, Jr. and John Fantone, survived the Oryoku Maru attack but perished in POW camps a few months later.

A seventh classmate, William Harris, was also captured, but escaped by swimming across Manila Bay from Corregidor to Bataan on May 22, 1942. He was later recaptured and tortured by the Japanese but survived the war to personally witness the Japanese surrender aboard USS Missouri. He was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for his heroism in the Korean War.

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star (Army Award) to First Lieutenant John Sheppard Fantone (MCSN: 0-5945), United States Marine Corps, for gallantry in action while serving with Company B, First Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment, at Fort Hills, Philippine Islands, March 25, 1942. When the barracks of the 92nd Coast Artillery (Philippine Scouts) were set on fire by a hostile bombing attack, First Lieutenant Fantone without regard for personal danger and while hostile planes were overhead, on his own initiative, outstandingly assisted in getting the fire under control thus preventing complete destruction of buildings and defense installations in the area. The explosion of small arms and other ammunition stored in the area greatly increased the hazardous fire fighting operations.

General Orders: Headquarters, Philippine Coast Artillery Command, General Orders No. 22 (April 9, 1942)
Action Date: March 25, 1942
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: First Lieutenant
Company: Company B
Battalion: 1st Battalion
Regiment: 4th Marine Regiment

Prisoner of War Medal

From Hall of Valor:

First Lieutenant John Sheppard Fantone (MCSN: 0-5945), United States Marine Corps, was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor, Philippine Islands, on 6 May 1942, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his death while still in captivity.

General Orders: NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 - 1947
Action Date: May 6, 1942 - Died in Captivity
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: First Lieutenant
Division: Prisoner of War (Philippines and Japan)

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

October 1939

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Alfred Gordon '39, 2LT Carter Simpson '39, 2LT Hugh Tistadt, Jr. '39, 2LT Ralph Mann, Jr. '39, 2LT Willard Holdredge '39, 2LT William Harris '39, 2LT William Hogaboom '39, and 2LT William Pace '39.

Others at or embarked at Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: CAPT Walter Webster '11 (Naval Aircraft Factory), LT Donald Lovelace '28 (Naval Aircraft Factory), LTjg Edward Allen '31 (Naval Aircraft Factory), ENS Lewis Davis '37 (Naval Finance & Supply School), and 2LT John Maclaughlin, Jr. '38 (Marine Barracks).

November 1940

2nd Lieutenant, Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, China

Others at this command: CAPT Harry Lang '29, 2LT Robert Ruge '37, 2LT Hugh Tistadt, Jr. '39, 2LT Ralph Mann, Jr. '39, and 2LT William Harris '39.

April 1941

2nd Lieutenant, Company D, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, China

Others at this command: CAPT Harry Lang '29, 1LT Robert Ruge '37, 2LT Hugh Tistadt, Jr. '39, 2LT Ralph Mann, Jr. '39, and 2LT William Harris '39.


Class of 1939

John is one of 77 members of the Class of 1939 on Virtual Memorial Hall.