A Story of Jack C. Fuller
Jack C. Fuller was born on Tuesday May 6th, 1924, in Eden, Utah. His father, George, was born in 1898 in Eden and knew the business end of a hard day’s work as a farmer. His mother, Alida, was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1900 and had immigrated with her parents to Utah in 1904. Jack was not the only child in the Fuller family, there were brothers, Glen, Mark, and Lloyd, and two sisters, Betty, and Evelyn.
Their hometown, Eden, was just like what you would imagine with a name like that. Eden is in the northern part of the Ogden Valley, surrounded by lush, green mountains and many streams that converge into the Ogden River. Huntsville City was located in the center of the Ogden Valley and had the Jeperson Mercantile store, a few shops, and the Shooting Star Saloon, which mostly was patronized by the miners working in the silver mines to the east. Eden was made up of mostly farmer and cattle rancher families who were God fearing, hardworking, family oriented and patriotic to the bone.
Jack grew up working hard on his family’s farm and although thing might have been tougher when the Great Depression hit, families and communities pulled together and helped each other out. Jack worked for Arthur Stallings, who ran one of the biggest cattle ranches and farms in the area. Jack also worked at the Jeperson Mercantile in Huntsville. It was not just a place where one would get the normal sundries, but it had a dance hall in the upper floor and many a fun time was had there.
Jack went to Weber High School in Ogden City, which would require about a 26-mile journey, round trip, every day. I am sure the daily trip to Ogden was made much easier with a certain girl riding along with Jack. Elenore Montgomery was a girl from Huntsville that had caught Jacks eye. She was a pretty girl with dark hair and dark eyes, and it seems as though Jack caught her eye as well. Jack was a very handsome man standing at 6’3”, a slim 170 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes. Although Elenore might have had some competition for Jack, but he had no other focus but her. Their relationship blossomed into an exciting, youthful type of love. When Jack was a senior in high school, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Every youthful American, of Jack’s generation, answered the call of our country.
Jack graduated high school and on June 30th, 1942, he registered to be inducted into the armed forces. On December 15th, 1943, Jack was inducted into the United States Army. Before leaving, Jack proposed to his love, Elenore and she accepted. He initially trained at Camp Roberts in California, and then onto Camp Bowie in Texas for training as an artilleryman. Jack then volunteered for the Paratroops and was sent to Ft. Benning for airborne training. Paratroop training is tough and physical. A large percentage of paratrooper volunteers did not make the cut. Jack persevered and with all the farm and ranch work he had done over the years, it must have made it a little easier for him. Jack made it through the screening process and the jump training. In early 1944 he had the silver jump wings of a paratrooper pinned on his chest. It must have been a proud moment for Jack, as obtaining the jump wings was no easy task.
In October of 1944, Jack was able to get leave to go home prior to being shipped overseas. On Wednesday October 25th, 1944, Jack and Elenore were married in the Salt Lake Mormon Temple. The following Saturday, a dance was held in their honor at the Eden Amusement Hall. Friends and family gathered in the red bricked hall and I am sure a fun time was had by all celebrating the marriage of Jack and Elenore.
In December 1944 Jack was alerted for movement overseas and in January 1945 he was sent to the Pacific and was assigned to Battery D, 462nd Parachute Artillery Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Regimental Combat Team, 11th Airborne Division. The unit that jack was assigned to was involved in the invasion of Luzon island in the Philippines and had just completed the parachute drop and battle on the Island of Corregidor when jack joined them.
It is at this point where details on what Jack did and where, become hard to find. Jack is on the Philippine island of Los Negros, at a time where the island was secured the military was conducting mopping up efforts to route out Japanese soldiers deep in the jungles. It states in his military records that he was wounded in battle in June of 1945 and received a purple heart for his wounds in battle on July 25th, 1945. The records describe the wound as a “laceration with no nerve damage”. The wound must not have been debilitating as Jack was back in action with his unit in late July-early August of 1945.
On Friday August 3rd, 1945, Jack was with his unit on a patrol in the jungles of Los Negros island. While conducting this patrol, an event or events happened where his patrol was attacked or engaged by the Japanese and Jack was killed in action. I can find no details of this battle or the situation where Jack was killed. In the September 1945 Standard Examiner article about Jack, it states: “PFC Fuller was killed instantly while on patrol duty on Negros island in the Philippines”. Jack was 21 years old at the time of his death.
The lack of information on Jack’s death, does not blind one to the sheer grief that must have been felt by Jacks family and the love of his life, Elenore. It is likely that the news of Jack's death came weeks after it had been announced that the Japanese had surrendered on August 15th, 1945 and after the formal surrender ceremony on September 2nd, 1945. Jack had been killed 12 days before the Japanese surrender and less than 10 months from the time he married his soulmate, Elenore. On September 16th, 1945, a memorial service was held for Jack at the Eden L.D.S. Ward Chapel.
Jack was initially buried in a Military Cemetery in the Philippines. He was brought home to Eden in March of 1949. On Saturday May 14th, 1949, the citizens of Eden honored Jack for the hero that he was, in a service at the Mountain View Cemetery. The ceremony was presided over by L.D.S. Bishop Leonard Fuller, Jack’s uncle. Military Honors were rendered by the Fred J. Grant Post, No. 1461, of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Taps was played over Jack’s flag draped coffin and then the flag was folded, with military precision, and handed to the family. Jack was laid to rest a few paces from the flagpole that flew the same flag he fought and died for, with a view of the places he worked hard and enjoyed as a youth.
I have visited Jack’s grave many times over the past few years and I have told my children his story. A story of one person who gave up everything, his life, his love, and his family, to ensure that this country will remain free. I am hopeful that the story will carry on and that the sacrifices made by Jack, and the many thousands like him, are not forgotten or forsaken.
Story by Troy Burnett 8/2/2020
This brief biography was written for the Stories Behind the Stars Project which is a national group of volunteers with the goal to preserve a written memorial on Fold3.com for all 400,000+ soldiers that were fallen during WWII. The hope is that eventually a smartphone app will be developed that will allow people to scan a soldier's gravestone and be able to access his/her story.
https://huntsvillemercantile.com/history-valley-events-center-inn/ Photo of Jespersen Mercantile
https://www.newspapers.com/search/#query=Jack+C+Fuller&p_place=UT Articles on Jack’s marriage, service, and memorial
https://www.ancestry.com/search/?name=Jack+C_Fuller&event=_eden-weber-utah-usa_79344&birth=1924 Family history and military records.
https://www.ww2-airborne.us/units/462/462.html Unit history and information
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/20286448 Jack’s Memorial