John W. Wood (1944/05/15)
An errant mortar round ended the green world of Jack Wood.
John W. Wood was born on July 5, 1921, in Los Gatos, California, to Mr. and Mrs. John A. Wood. The Wood family later moved to Santa Cruz and settled in the Highland District where their sons John, Richard, Ray and daughters Marjorie and Carol were raised. John, or "Jack" as his friends knew him, entered Santa Cruz High School in 1934 and brought his love of science and forestry with him. In high school he majored in science and continued in the 4H program that he had started in 1931.
Jack Wood's education was directed toward a career in forestry. He was instrumental in a special forestry project conducted between the school and the Coast Counties Gas and Electric Company. That program resulted in a nationally distributed movie entitled "A New Dawn in an Ancient Forest," in which he played a major role. After high school, Wood continued his study of forestry at Salinas Junior College for two years.
In March 1943, John Wood enlisted in a coastal artillery unit and in May was transferred, for six months, to an army special training program at UCLA. This was followed by five additional months of study at Texas A & M University.
The wartime needs of the infantry aborted John Wood's special training program, and he was reassigned to the 393rd Infantry Regiment of the 99th Infantry Division stationed at Camp Maxey, Texas. While on maneuvers, his engineering company was under a live mortar barrage when an ill- timed explosion of a mortar shell snuffed out Wood's life on May 15, 1944.
His funeral services were held May 19, 1944, in Los Gatos. He was laid to rest with full military honors in the Golden Gate Nation Cemetery in San Bruno California.
(NARA2; USDVA; SCHSC Pg. 20; SCSn May 18, 1944 1:5, SCR May 26, 1944 1)