John A. Bobeda (1945/05/19)
Nine days after his Watsonville High School buddy Darell Pettus was killed on Okinawa, John joined him.
John Anthony Bobeda was born in 1919 in Watsonville, California, to Antone and Mary Bobeda. The family also included daughters Virginia, Ida and Mary, and sons Pete, Sebastian and Ceferino. John attended local elementary schools before enrolling in high school. While a student at Watsonville High School, he was active on the football and track teams and also worked part time in its maintenance department.
After his graduation from high school in June 1938, Bobeda continued to live and work in the Pajaro Valley. In August 1941 he married, Nickoline Lutich, and was rehired by the high school's maintenance department in a supervisory capacity. A son, John Bobeda Jr., was born to the couple in 1943.
John Bobeda was inducted into the US Army at the Presidio of Monterey in June 1944 and sent to Camp Joseph T. Robinson in Little Rock, Arkansas. Following basic training, he was sent to Fort Ord for additional instruction and deployment orders. Bobeda was then assigned to the 307th Infantry Regiment of the 77th Division conducting mopping up in the Philippines.
In late March 1945, the 307th Infantry Regiment left the Philippines to participate in the Okinawa campaign. Their initial mission was to capture the neighboring island of IE Shima, made famous as the place of Ernie Pyle's death. Following that island's surrender, they returned to Okinawa to assist in its capture. On May 19, 1945, in one of the closing actions of the campaign, John Bobeda was killed in action.
Bobeda was buried in the US National Cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii; his awards include the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
(ABMC; NARA2; Photo-WHS; WIKI, 77 Infantry; WRP July 9, 19451:3)