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John Sweeny '43

Date of birth: January 23, 1920

Date of death: November 9, 1956

Age: 36

Lucky Bag

From the 1943 Lucky Bag:


John was lost on November 9, 1956 when the P5M-1 Marlin patrol bomber he was aboard caught fire and crashed approximately 350 miles from Bermuda. All ten crewmen aboard were killed.

From the Class of 1943 anniversary book "25 years later…":

Jack was born on 23 January 1920 in Landonia, Texas. He was appointed from Texas and entered the Academy on 12 July 1939. After graduation, he reported to the battleship USS TENNESSEE in which Jack was the main battery spotter for operation at Kwajalein, Enivetok and Saipan. The TENNESSEE received the Navy Unit Citation for these actions. In July 1944 Jack commenced flight training which was conducted at Ottumwa, Iowa, and Pensacola and Corpus Christi, Florida. After receiving operational training in PBM aircraft in San Diego he reported to VH-1 for duty involving flying in June 1946. Duty in Patrol Squadron FORTY-FOUR, the Bureau of Naval Personnel and Commander, Air Forces Pacific followed through December 1953. Jack next attended the Air Force Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base. Duty at the Naval Auxiliary Station, Kingsville, Texas and Patrol Squadron FORTY NINE followed. It was at this squadron that Jack as a copilot crashed into the sea on 9 November 1956 and lost his life. He wore the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, the American Area Campaign, Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign with four bronze stars, WWII Victory Medal, China Service Medal and the Korean Service Medal. He was survived by his wife, Marine Mathewson and their four sons John Milton, Jr., William A., Albert Earle, and Dan Mathewson who at Jack’s death resided at 610 Balboa Avenue, Coronado, California.

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

SYNOPSIS: Commander John Sweeny, United States Navy, was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight while serving with Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED NINETY-ONE (VF-191), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 23 June 1952.

General Orders: All Hands (May 1954)
Action Date: June 23, 1952
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Company: Fighter Squadron 191 (VF-191)


His F9F-2 Panther suffered a mechanical malfunction on takeoff from USS Princeton (CVA 37) on June 20, 1952. He was forced to ditch, and was rescued by the plane guard helicopter.

Class of 1943

John is one of 84 members of the Class of 1943 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.