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John Foss PhD

John Foss PhD

  • Service Branch: United States Army
  • Service Dates: 1900–1901
  • Stationed: Kenia, AK

The Korean War began in 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. The war stopped in 1953 with an armistice. John was a student during this period of time, but he knew that he would soon be drafted. Along with a classmate of his, they attempted to enlist in the Navy, but were sent away because the Navy had plenty of enlisted at that time. The same thing occurred when they attempted to enlist in the Air Force. In order to avoid being drafted, the two of them enlisted in the Army for a three year stint hoping they could get into the Army Security Agency(ASC).

Off to Kansas he went for basic training where he learned what the infantry was all about, and he remembers that he did a lot of firearms training. He remembers that most of the other recruits in his basic training school were shipped off to Korea, but he ended up in the Army Security Agency and became involved with cryptology. During this training he learned the techniques for secure communications.

As a result of his special skills, John was sent to Kenai, Alaska which is located south of Anchorage at the mouth of the Kenai River, which is renowned for its salmon fishing.

John remembers being involved in several sports activities with his military buddies, and he loved fishing; however, there was a serious side to his activities which included the collection of information about Soviet Air Defenses. The collection of this information was accomplished by US Air Reconnaissance. The aircraft used during these missions contained electronic equipment used to detect Soviet radar stations. It was hazardous duty, and accidents did occur.

An added benefit did occur, however, because local fish canneries hired military personnel part time, thereby allowing for some added monetary compensation which came in handy.

After two years of service in the Army Security Agency, John returned to the states and married his high school sweetheart Janice. After his marriage he went back to Alaska to complete the last year of his required military service.

His fondest memories of military service included the camaraderie with fellow service members, his fishing adventures and the ability to witness a wild and beautiful part of this country while stationed in Alaska.

In addition to the fond memories he developed, John took advantage of the GI Bill that helped him achieve his educational goals and afforded him the possibility of purchasing his first home at a very low interest rate. After leaving military service John received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture and biology and his master’s degree in soil science. He completed his formal education receiving his doctoral degree at the University of Minnesota.

John and his wife Janice moved to Londonderry from Tennessee in 2016, and he continues to enjoy his life within our community.

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