John Perozzi’s story

| September 29, 2013

We’ve crossed paths with John Perozzi in the past, twice last year here and here. ROS sends us a link to a local Fox affiliate’s interview with him;

Perozzi didn’t have to go into the Army during World War II.

In 1943, at age 23, he worked his way through night school to become the high-level welder, a certified Navy welder, building warships at the Navy Yard and making 10 times average pay for everybody else working then.

“When a guy was making $18 a week, he was making a ton of money. I was making $140, $150 a week. I bought me one of those six-wheel Buicks,” Perozzi said, laughing.

Doing his part as a civilian by building the best warships came with being exempt from the draft, and that just didn’t seem right to Perozzi. So, he voluntarily went into battle.

His first mission was to be among the first men to invade Normandy on D-Day, parachuting in behind Nazi enemy lines.

In my pinion, Perozzi personifies the Greatest Generation. Watch this seven minute interview.

Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Category: Real Soldiers

Comments (24)

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  1. Green Thumb says:

    What a great story.


    We need more guys (and gals) like this.

  2. Sam Naomi says:

    I don’t see a dam thing wrong with him going to welding school to learn a trade, besides, he was’nt like some that left the country to avoid serving,and would you beleive, we have a few in congress right now that could have served, but the big buck kept them home.


  3. chockblock says:

    Wow, he volunteered and got D-Day as his first mission. %100 pure all American Badass.

  4. FatCircles0311 says:

    When US wars were fought to be won.

  5. OldSoldier54 says:

    Seems he and Pat Tillman were like two peas in a pod.

    Making good money’s fine, but when it got down to the nut cutting, they stepped up. God bless ’em both.

  6. NHSparky says:

    We should be thankful that such men live.

  7. Bruce says:

    The Greatest Generation, they set the standard.
    Above All Honor.

  8. OWB says:

    For all the ribbing we give the Frogs, they seem not to have forgotten the sacrifices of this nation on their behalf. They certainly have taken good care of all those buried there.

    Thank you, France! In spite of it all, there are still a few things you do very well.

  9. Al T. says:

    “Making good money’s fine, but when it got down to the nut
    cutting, they stepped up. God bless ‘em both. ”


  10. Why can’t the Army go back to using that WWII style para jacket and pants…with whatever cammo pattern they think works, but those big ass pockets were very handy for carrying a lot of shit.

  11. T-Bird Henry says:

    @ OWB: most of the problem in France comes from around the Paris are. The farther you get away from that place the more you find folks who understand and are truly grateful. Sgt Perrozi I cannot thank you enough for your service and sacrifice. Expert welders like you put my father’s ship together wee enough to survive a kamakaze hit. You then say nuts to that, join the airborne, jump into Normandy on D-Day, take a bullet and keep coming back. I can only say what my father would have: BRAVO ZULU, Well Done. I pray we may be worthy of you and all of your brothers and sisters.

  12. NSOM says:

    I’m surprised they let him go.

  13. Common Sense says:

    @12 – me too. My grandfather wanted desperately to join, but they wouldn’t let him because he worked in an essential industry as a truck mechanic. It bothered him for the rest of his life that he wasn’t able to serve.

    Wonderful men, both John Perozzi and my grandfather.

  14. A Proud Infidel says:

    He was doing an essential job and making good money, told himself he HAD to do more for his Country, and did. Wow!

  15. LebbenB says:

    AirBORNE! If you look at his left shoulder, you can see an edge of red, so he jumped in with Division. And from looking at his shadow box in the background, you can see his wings on an oval. It’s not too distinct, but it looks like he was with the ’05.

  16. rb325th says:

    @15, he was in the 505th. Joined up with them for the invasion of France. He missed North Africa and Italy but made all Operations in Europe. D-Day, Market garden, the Bulge, and into Germany.
    The man is amazing, a stellar example of a true hero. Humble in words for himself, full of praise for those they left behind as the real Heroes. What he did with proceeds from his book is juts amazing too…
    Watching that video yesterday, the faucet turned on behind my eyeballs. We owe it to those men that they are never forgotten, like all our warriors.

  17. LebbenB says:

    I always enjoyed talking to the WWII guys at All-American Week and at the 82nd Airborne Division Association national convention. Interesting guys, the lot of them.

  18. Sustainer says:

    Unfortunately, “that” America no longer exists.

  19. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    For many years, I thought that virtually all American men who served in The Big One had joined. When I learned that most were drafted, I was somewhat crestfallen and wondered whether the Greatest Generation was so great. After all, I thought, so many were pulled into service. They didn’t storm the recruiting offices as I had thought! Time passed and one day, for reason I no longer recall, I checked out the matter. What I learned shamed me. It turns out that FDR issued Executive Order 9279 less than a year after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The order established the draft as the ONLY WAY into the service, EXCEPT for men too young or too old to be drafted. So there you go. If you ever wondered why someone hadn’t joined but was drafted, you just might have your answer.

  20. T-Bird Henry says:

    @2/17 Air Cav: Many thanks for the info. I too didn’t realize that fact. I knew there were a lot of volunteers after Pearl Harbor but I never realized that the President would have to LIMIT the numbers of men joining the ranks by using a draft.

  21. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @20. As I understand it, the theory behind EO 9279 was that the influx of volunteers was less than orderly and didn’t permit the the needs of the military to be met as they arose, what with volunteers selecting which branch they joined. The draft-only approach allowed for both order and needs satisfaction.

  22. Don H says:

    @19, 20: If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

    In ’42 and even into ’43 they were still building and opening the camps throughout the United States, so if they had a “surge” of volunteers early on, where would they have put them? They also trained up divisions, then pulled people out of them to serve as cadre and leadership for the newly forming divisions (Shelby Stanton has a great geneology type chart tracing which divisions were related to which in his World War II Order of Battle book). So call up the people when you were ready to form the new divisions, don’t have them sitting around waiting.

    I imagine the Army Air Forces would have similar problems, would you want a lot of airmen sitting around waiting for planes to be built? Better to call them in when you could equip the newly formed units. And the Navy, which had to build ships before crewing them.

    I look at it as a sort of “delayed entry program” without all of the paperwork and promises. “We’re glad you want to help. We’ll call you when we need you.”

  23. OWB says:

    Yes, it was indeed an interesting time. Both my Mom and Dad were in DC on December 7, 1941. Dad was actually in the War College at the time and did not graduate until early January, 1942 while she was a supervisor of clerical staff in the War Department. The tales they told were fascinating.

    Their stories and ones like the hero showcased in this post were not all that unusual. Everyday people doing extraordinary things was rather the rule of living then.

    Thanks, Jonn, for reminding us of the possibilities and of our real history.

  24. David says:

    have my father’s 201 and he was a Reserves officer – his call-up date was Dec 8 1941