John McCreary World War II Stories 1
John McCreary World War II Stories 2
OBITUARY. John McCrea McCreary, Lt. Col., RA, Rtd., died in his home in Rectortown, Va. ___June 3, 2009; three days before the anniversary of D-Day.
John landed in Normandy as part of General Pattons never publicized secret weapon, his 3rd Cavalry and other reconnaissance units. Ranging the countryside in scattered, constantly in-touch-with-the-enemy small groups, these rovers and probers were the first sure proof in village after village that the Liberation was happening and was real.
Lightly armored and highly mobile, these armored car groups deliberately and continuously harassed the German lines. Patton always knew where the Germans were because reconnaissance units like John's were never out of contact with the enemy.
Bypassing the struggles and dramas in Paris itself, these were the units that linked up with the guerilla Maqui to the south and east of the capital to keep the war of movement in motion. En passant John acquired the Legion of Merit plus three purple hearts.
Having made it through France John was captured in Germany on the wrong side of the Saar River during a two day, on foot recon behind enemy lines. He wound up as Kommandant of his own prison camp. As the German war machine imploded in rear guard chaos, his prison guards had quietly surrendered to their Allied prisoners.*
Later in Korea. Arriving early with the independent 6th Tank Battalion, he survived the bitter retreat to, and defense of the Pusan perimeter, and the triumphant, advance back up the peninsula to capture Pyongang in North Korea. After the Chinese invasions, of course, came the re run of these actions; the long, fighting retreats under Chinese assault then, once again, now under General Ridgeway, the crunching advances to recapture Seoul and move on to the 38th Parallel. During this second advance McCreary twice in the line of duty encountered his brother Edward, now a combat engineer officer with the 3rd Division. It was, after all, a small war.
Born in New York, he was raised in pre WW II Spain and the Philippines where his father ran the Phil. Railroad Co. of Panay. In college in the U.S. when the war started, he joined the army. Simultaneously, his family was interned in Japanese prison camps. It is a laughing irony that three weeks after his family were safely liberated in Manila, John was interned in Germany.