John Michael Noonan
Corporal
1ST 155MM GUN BTRY, 1ST FLD ARTY GROUP,
11TH MARINES, 1ST MARDIV, III MAF
United States Marine Corps
St Louis, Missouri
November 27, 1947 to March 13, 1968
JOHN M NOONAN is on the Wall at Panel 44E, Line 39

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Combat Action Ribbon
 
John M Noonan
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16 Apr 2006

I remember John as a pole vaulter for O'Fallon Tech. He would soar into the air, fearlessly jumping so high.

Prior to John's death, the war was something you read in the newpaper or saw on TV - very remote, very sterile. John's death made it real and personal as he was the first person I knew who became a casualty of war.

Thirty-eight years later, I can still see his picture in the Saint Louis newspaper along with his obituary.

Charlie Bader
Email Address No longer Valid

 
31 August 2006

John was to be my replacement as Section Chief, I knew him for only a short time. John took my place on the gun that day.

The sacrifice that followed continues to haunt me. But it also guides me ... every day. During my time with our crew of 8, we accomplished great things ... terrible, but great. Their memory will be honored through the retelling of our story for generations.

They paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

From the Section Chief, Gun #2,
Edward M. Bowen
eddy.b@comcast.net

 

The 1st 155mm Gun Battery, as its name implies, was equipped with M53 self-propelled 155mm howitzers. The photo below shows an M53. Notice the enclosed crew cab.

John M Noonan

At 0805 on 13 March 1968, while conducting a fire mission against an NVA emplacement, a 155mm round detonated in the tube of one of the battery's guns, killing six men and injuring another. The 1st 155mm Gun Btry's Operations Log contains the following entry:

"13 MAR 68: At 0805 one M53, 155mm (SP) Gun exploded in the battery area; 6 KIAs and 1 WIA sustained as a result."
while the narrative summary for the month says
"On 13 March 1968, at approximately 0805, an explosion on Gun #2 claimed the lives of six members of that section while another was seriously wounded. On 30 March 1968, the wounded Marine died of complications as a result of the accident. The probable cause, as determined by investigation, was the failure of the breech block to be fully closed and locked prior to firing."
The seven men who died were

John was survived by his mother, Mrs. Lillian P Conway, Chippewa, St. Louis, Missouri. He was predeceased by his father, John W. Noonan. Cpl John Michael Noonan is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, LeMay MIssouri.

John M Noonan


- - The Virtual Wall, November 2, 2014

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