John H. Damewood
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October 7, 1938 - August 12, 2013
LTC John H. Damewood of Springfield, Virginia passed away unexpectedly on August 12, 2013 in Sandusky, Ohio while on vacation with his wife. LTC Damewood was born October 7, 1938 in Pocatello, Idaho to Harold Laswell Damewood and Elizabeth Hoover Damewood. He graduated from Pocatello High School and from Idaho State University, where he was active in student government and symphonic and marching bands. Jack, as he was known to his friends, developed leadership skills in the Pocatello Chapter of the Order of DeMolay, becoming Master Councilor of a highly successful organization. He later achieved the two highest awards in DeMolay, the Order of Chevalier and the Legion of Honor.
LTC Damewood was commissioned into the U.S. Army through the ROTC program in 1962. His first tour of duty was with the 1st Battle Group, 17th Infantry at Camp Kaiser, Korea, where he worked with Korean soldiers and developed a lifelong interest in the Republic of Korea and its people. Upon return to the U.S., he underwent Special Forces training and deployed in 1964 to Camp Gia Vuc, South Vietnam with 5th Special Forces as a Civil Affairs officer. He was recognized by syndicated columnist Hal Boyle as a "One Man Goodwill Mission" for his work improving the lives of the Montagnards in the area, and later wrote "Nuts and Bolts of Civic Action," which was used by the U.S. Army throughout the early years of the Vietnam conflict. Following a tour at the Infantry School, CPT Damewood again deployed to South Vietnam, where he commanded Company E, 1st Battalion 7th Cavalry, earning Silver and Bronze Stars and other awards.
Upon return from Vietnam, MAJ Damewood served as Assistant Professor of Military Science with U.S. Army ROTC at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, where he was recognized as a dynamic and enthusiastic instructor, and where he developed highly successful instruction in behavioral science foundations of leadership. Following a tour with the Recruiting Command in San Antonio, Texas and graduation from the Command & General Staff Officer Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, LTC Damewood served four years in Germany, culminating in command of the 2nd Battalion, 36th Infantry at Kirchgoens ("The Rock"). He then served at the Pentagon and was selected to command an Infantry Training Battalion at Fort Benning, Georgia. LTC Damewood concluded his 23-year Army career as Executive Officer of the Infantry Training Center. During this time, he developed a two-week preparatory course for Infantry soldiers selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning. He felt so strongly about the importance of mentoring and training young officers-to-be that he continued conducting this course on a volunteer basis for many years after retirement. He was ultimately responsible for pre-professional training of more than 1500 officer candidates, a group who styled themselves "Damewood's Disciples".
Jack Damewood had a wide range of other interests, including the arts, history, science, cats and Auburn football. He completed a Master's Degree in Fisheries from Auburn University after retirement to become the second of three Auburn graduates in the family. He particularly loved spending time with his granddaughters telling family stories, cooking, playing games, and regaling them with songs of the Big Band Era. He also enjoyed sharing with family and friends the history and sites in and around his favorite city, Washington, D.C.
He is survived by his wife, Judith Carter Damewood of Springfield, Virginia; son Edward Carter Damewood and wife Jennifer of Huntsville, Alabama; brother Bruce Hoover Damewood and wife Rachel of Pocatello, Idaho; and two beloved granddaughters, Jacqueline and Laura.
Jack will be memorialized and buried in Arlington National Cemetery (dates pending). Donations in Jack's memory may be made to the Cat Corner, 85 Fulton St., Hampton, VA 23663 or the Humane Society of the United States, 2100 L St., Washington, DC 20037.
Groff Funeral Homes
1607 E. Perkins Ave. Sandusky, OH 44870
Published in Idaho State Journal on Aug. 29, 2013