John Wahl was born on September 17, 1924, in Rye, New York, to Blanche Lowe Wahl, age 35, and John Wahl, age 34. He had a sister Marjorie and a brother William and in Rye his family lived at 21 Oakwood Ave.
John was a Rye High School Graduate, Class of 1942. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
John grew up with an interest in West Point. He was a good student with many interests, including athletics. A cheerful, happy person with a pleasant appearance, he developed many lasting friendships.
As a cadet, John was a fine athlete, participating on the A-Squad Track and Cross Country teams for most of his academy career.
The nearness of his hometown made him a popular source of dates. John's roommates recall many humorous incidents--such as John's idea for subtle rebellion against authority.
A coat hanger would be hung on the pipes above the window. Each day another hanger would be added. When the room inspector finally noticed the hangers, whoever was room orderly at that time had to take the demerits.
Upon graduation, John went to Fort Benning, Georgia for the Infantry basic course and parachute training. After several months in Germany, he returned to the Infantry School. It is believed that the following incident occurred at this point in John's life: On the spur-of-the moment, he decided to visit an Academy roommate and caught a ride with an Air Force pilot flying an AT-6 to John's destination, Carswell Air Force Base, Texas.
Somewhere along the way the pilot became ill and lost consciousness. Although John was not a qualified pilot, he stayed with the plane and tried to land it. The plane broke up on landing and severely burned John. He broke several bones including his legs and pelvis. The pilot received only a few scratches. John's actions did not surprise anyone who knew him. He wouldn't have considered any other action. The idea of abandoning the unconscious pilot simply didn't enter his head.
After Fort Benning, John spent two years in Japan with the 11th Airborne Division. While attending the Armored advanced course, John met Muriel, an airline hostess, on a flight from Philadelphia to Louisville after the 1951 Army Navy game. They were married the following August at West Point.
After obtaining an master's degree in psychology at Vanderbilt University in 1953, and the arrival of daughter Sally, the family returned to Fort Benning where John was assigned to the Special Weapons School.
In 1956, the family, now increased by two, Karen and John Jr., moved to Fort Leavenworth and C&GSC. In the summer of 1957 John received orders to Okinawa as aide-de-camp to the high commissioner of The Ryukyus Islands.
By this time another son, Thomas, was on traveling orders. Three years and two children (Mary and Michael) later, John returned to the 101st Airborne Division.
In 1962 he was assigned to the Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for the next three years where his fourth and fifth sons, Kurt and Garret, joined the family.
In 1965, retirement seemed like the best move. John enjoyed almost 10 years as a stockbroker with Bache & Co. in Seattle. His large home and family, which now included son Gordon, and the beautiful Northwest were a pleasure and a challenge to John.
He was killed on 10 February 1975 in an automobile accident. (Source: United States Military Academy in 1975)
Lieutenant Colonel John Wahl III (1924-1975) John Wahl. No. 15009 Class Of 1945. Died 10 February 1975 in Edmonds, Washington, aged 50 years. Interment: Ashes in his son's home in Edmonds, Washington.
John Wahl graduated West Point in 1945. Commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the infantry. Married Muriel and had nine children. Career military officer. Retired as a Lt. Col. Lived in Seattle and died there on Feb. 10, 1975. Rye High School Graduate, class of 1942