AUGUST 1960 - JUNE 1962

Jack was born in Newport, Rhode Island on October 24, 1918. He enlisted in the U. S. Navy June 27, 1936.

On December 7, 1941, Jack was serving as a Quartermaster 2nd Class on the U.S.S. West Virginia (BB48) at Pearl Harbor. The next day he was assigned to the U.S.S. San Francisco (CA' )8) and participated in some of the early actions against Japanese forces. In May 1942, Jack returned to the West Virginia as a member of the salvage crew which raised the ship and returned it to Bremerton, WA for repairs and modernization.

In September 1943, Jack was commissioned Ensign from Chief Quartermaster and shortly thereafter reported to Solomons, Maryland for amphibious training. On June 6, 1944, he was Executive Officer of the U.S.S. LST 60 and was with the assault force which struck Normandy and launched the invasion of France. From June 1945 to June 1946 he commanded the U. S. S. LST 510.

Following two years with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, he attended the General Line School in Newport, RI and was promoted to full Lieutenant. Jack then served as Gunnery Officer of the U.S.S. Agerholm (DD826) from June 1949 to Sept 1950.

In October 1950, Jack assumed command of the U.S.S. Murrelet (AM 372) and deployed to Korea. During one year of minesweeping and interdiction operations, Murrelet was under fire many times by enemy shore batteries and, although hit three times, suffered only minor damage. Murrelet was awarded the U. S. Navy Unit Commendation, and two Korean Presidential Unit Citations.

From October 1952 until March of 1955, Jack was an instructor at the Fleet AntiSubmarine Warfare School in San Diego and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. He assumed command of the U.S.S. Formoe (DE 509) in March 1955. In 1957 he turned the Formoe over to Portugal and rode the ship for three months training the Portuguese crew. Then followed one year as a student in the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, VA. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the staff of Commander Amphibious Forces, U. S. Pacific Fleet. He was promoted to Commander 1 April 1959.

Jack assumed command of the U.S.S. Floyd B. Parks (DD884) in August 1960 until June of 1962 when he reported to the Staff of Commander First Fleet for duty. In January of 1964, he was transferred to the U. S. Naval Oceanographic Office for duty as Director of Plans and Operations. He was promoted to Captain 1 September 1964.

Jack assumed command of the U.S.S. Thomaston (LSD 28) in October 1966. Thomaston was involved in a number of amphibious assaults in Vietnam and was awarded the U.S. Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation. In May of 1968, Jack reported to Commander Amphibious Group Three for duty as Chief of Staff, again involved in Vietnamese operations.

In March 1970, Jack assumed command of Amphibious Squadron One which was comprised of seven ships. This tour included six months as the Seventh Fleet Amphibious Ready Group with an embarked Marine Battalion and Helicopter Squadron.

Jack's last tour of duty was as Commander Fleet Training Center, San Diego. The Training Center handled 60,000 students per year in all Navy skills including Gunnery, Damage Control, Seamanship, Engineering, and Fire Fighting. He retired in June 1974 and could look back with pride on a career wherein he advanced from Seaman Recruit to Captain and earned twenty-seven service medals and ribbons including four Legions of Merit and two Bronze Stars.

Special Book dedicated to Captain O'Neill