John George Fuller Jr. passed away peacefully with his loving wife and family at his side on June 11, 2013 at Primrose Retirement Community in Wasilla, Alaska.
A Committal Service with Full Military Honors will be held 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at Fort Richardson National Cemetery. All attendees will be meeting at the Fort Richardson Arctic Valley Gate at 1:00 p.m.
John "Jack" was born November 2, 1921 in West Brookville, New York; son of John and Agnes (King) Fuller.
John's military career began at the height of World War II. In 1942, while a senior in high school he enlisted in the United Stated Marine Corps. He earned his paratrooper wings and served in the Pacific Theater for two and a half years, in both the Guam and Iwo Jima campaigns.
He served with the First Infantry Battalion, Twenty First Marines, and Third Marine Division on the Isle of Iwo Jima. As a young platoon Sergeant he took command of his company when all the officers were dead or wounded and enabled his platoon to continue the attack. For his action he received a battle field commission as a second Lieutenant and was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry.
In 1946, while a student at Adrian College he joined the Michigan National Guard. He was later granted a permanent commission after earning his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1948. While attending Adrian College, he met and married Lenora "Lee" Duling. They have two daughters, Abigail and Johnalee.
In 1964 the family moved to Alaska where Jack and Lee taught in the Bureau of Indian Affairs School at Point Hope, and later at Gambell, Alaska.
On the way to his teaching post in Point Hope, he enlisted in the First Eskimo Scout Battalion, Alaska National Guard. He served first as a Commander for Company F, and in 1968 he became a full time member of the Guard. When the family moved to Nome, he served as the Battalion Planning and Training Officer, until he became the Commanding Officer of the First Eskimo Scout Battalion in 1972. He continued as Commanding Officer until his retirement six years later. Jack often cited his duties as Commander of the First Eskimo Scouts as the most rewarding part of this life.
He graduated from the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced courses and is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While serving as Commanding Officer of the First Eskimo Scout Battalion, he was awarded the Legion of Merit, the third highest award of the Army for the outstanding skill, initiative and professionalism he displayed as a commander. He was the first officer of the Alaska National Guard to achieve this honor.
He also served as chairman on the Board of Directors of Norton Sound Health Corporation. When he retired from the Army National Guard in 1978, he was elected to the Alaska State Legislature and served as the District 22 Representative for eight years.
In 1986 he was the first Colonel to be recruited for the Alaska Defense Force that was created by General Pagano under Governor Bill Sheffield. He retired from this post in 2006. Since his retirement he has been active in the Wasilla Senior Center, serving on the board and as President.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests that all donations be made to:
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) www.nmcrs.org Or Emergency Military Family Relief Fund, 724 Postal Service Dr. #6000, JBER, AK. 99505
Arrangements were cared for by Valley Funeral Home. Please visit John's obituary and online guestbook www.AlaskanFuneral.com.
Published in Alaska Dispatch News from June 15 to June 16, 2013