John H. Featherston
|John H. Featherston Jr.|
|Born||May 27, 1922|
Portsmouth, Virginia, United States
|Died||March 24, 1945 (aged 22)|
Wesel, GermanyMarch 24, 1945 (aged 22)
|Resting place||Plot M Row 8 Grave 15, Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands|
|Education||U.S. Army West Point Prep School at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma|
|Family||John H. Featherston (father)|
Margaret (Hunter) Featherston (mother)
Frank H. Featherston (brother)
Robert K. Featherston (brother)
Edward W. Featherston (brother)
Captain John H. "Jack" Featherston Jr. was born to Colonel John H. and Margaret Featherston on May 27, 1922. Featherston was an "army brat", moving with his family to various army posts in the United States, Hawaii, and the Philippine Islands. Featherston and his three younger brothers primarily lived in Fort Monroe, Virginia. Featherston graduated from high school and went to the U.S. Army West Point Prep School at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. During his time at the preparatory school, he competed for a Presidential Appointment to West Point and applied to the United States Naval Academy. When Featherston returned to Chicago, he received the news that he had earned an appointment to go to either academy. He decided to go to West Point to follow an army career. 
One of his roommates spoke fondly of him, "Jack came to West Point with the firm resolve to become a good soldier. Super spoonoid [popular with women], conscientious in duty, he pursued with characteristic determination his chosen work. Weekends, when other men were out dragging, Jack could be found at home studying Napoleon or Clausewitz." In 1943, with the United States fighting World War II, Featherston and his classmates graduated early, in January instead of June.
Following West Point, Featherston returned home for a brief period to spend time with his family before going to the Field Artillery School in Oklahoma. This piqued his interest in airborne troops and pushed him to go to the Field Artillery Glider Battalion in North Carolina. There he was assigned to the 17th Airborne Division. The Division had been activated on April 15, 1943, and was led by General William M. Miley. Featherston was regarded as a gentleman and a "splendid soldier" by his comrades, eventually achieving the rank of Captain and serving as commander of Battery A of the 680th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, a component of the 17th Airborne. On December 24, 1944, the division deployed from bases in the United Kingdom to France, to reinforce US Army units hard-pressed by the Ardennes Counteroffensive (also referred to as the Battle of the Bulge, or the von Runstedt Offensive). Following that campaign in mid-February, the 17th Airborne Division began preparations for Operation Varsity, the airborne crossing of the Rhine and the largest single-day airborne operation in history. They landed near Wesel, Germany on March 24, 1945. It was during this operation that Featherston was ultimately killed.
After after his battalion had landed, Featherston organized and led a patrol of men to clear some nearby houses from which his battery had been receiving small arms fire. He was shot in the left side of his chest and died almost instantaneously. According to the unit history, the shot that killed Featherston was fired by a lone 12-year-old German sniper.
He was recommended for a Silver Star Award due to his valorous action in service for the battalion.
In a letter to his mother, Colonel Oswald wrote: "His unfortunate death grieves me deeply, not only because of his outstanding professional ability, but because I consider myself among those privileged to be his friends. You have the deepest sympathy of all of the officers and men of this unit in your bereavement. John was an outstanding officer and set the highest standards for both officers and men to emulate. Personally I rated him Superior, and feel that I shall never be able to replace him entirely. He was held in high regard by all of the members of this command and possessed a host of friends. He was a splendid soldier and a true gentleman."
|Allegiance||United States of America (USA)|
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1943–1945|
|Awards||Silver Star, Purple Heart|
|Commands||17th Airborne Division (United States), 680th Field Artillery Battalion|
|Battles/wars||World War II / Operation Varsity|
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- Lavoie, Jeffrey D. (October 22, 2015). "The Private Life of General Omar N. Bradley". McFarland – via Google Books.
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