Major General John E. Hoover was born on April 28, 1924 on his family's farm in Timberville, VA. He enlisted in the Army at age 18, training at the Signal Corps cryptographic school at Camp Edison, NJ. A year later he won an appointment to West Point, entering the Military Academy in June 1944. After graduation, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the Signal Corps and assigned to the 24th Infantry Division in occupied Japan.
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As the Korean War began, Maj. Gen. Hoover sailed with the 24th ID to Pusan, crossing by night on a Japanese ferry. During the division's chaotic evacuation south after the North Korean army captured Seoul, his platoon encountered a fleeing Korean boy who had lost his family. Maj. Gen. Hoover told the boy to get in his jeep and brought him along with his unit, keeping him safe during the conflict. In 2008, Maj. Gen. Hoover received a letter from a Mr. Phil Lee, introducing himself as the boy whose life he had saved. Mr. Lee, now a U.S. citizen and successful real estate investor, was living in Daytona Beach with his wife and family. He wanted to thank "Lieutenant John" for "giving him the American dream." The two men celebrated a fond reunion and have stayed in touch ever since.
After the war, Maj. Gen. Hoover was assigned to Camp Gordon, GA, where two friends insisted he should call their secretary for a blind date. That evening, he met Mary Jo Cox, and they were married a year and a half later. After attending graduate school at Georgetown University, he taught Economics and Comparative Government in the Social Sciences Department at West Point. Daughters, Mary Kathryn "Kate" and Holly were born at West Point. Subsequent assignments took the family to Germany and Hawaii. In 1969, Maj. Gen. Hoover deployed to Vietnam where he took command of the 1st Regional Communications Group. He traveled constantly by helicopter and light airplane to direct his unit's wartime communications mission at 70 sites all over Vietnam.
Maj. Gen. Hoover served at Ft. Huachuca, AZ as Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Communications Command. Upon his promotion to Major General, he was assigned as Director of the Joint Tactical Communications Office, developing the TRI-TAC communications equipment that enabled the joint services to interoperate on the battlefield.
Maj. Gen. Hoover retired from active duty in 1978. He and Jo returned to Georgia where he worked as a consultant and played a key role in developing MSE, the Army's next generation of communications gear.
The Hoovers traveled to the west coast of Ireland almost every year, basing their trips out of a country inn surrounded by meadows full of horses and cows in County Clare. They also enjoyed trips to New Mexico and Arizona to visit Kate, friends, and birds. A dedicated bird watcher, Maj. Gen. Hoover loved tramping the mountains and canyons near Fort Huachuca in search of flycatchers, hummingbirds and the elusive trogan.
In 2004, the Hoovers moved to Brandon Wilde, a retirement community in Evans, GA. There, Maj. Gen. Hoover adopted a program of daily exercise in the pool and gym. He thoroughly enjoyed his life and friends at Brandon Wilde and Crossbridge Baptist Church.
Between his work on the wellness committee, Sunday school, Bible study, and bridge, his only complaint was that there was too much to do.
Maj. Gen. Hoover served as the Historian Emeritus of the U.S. Army Signal Regiment. He never lost his passion for writing, researching, and speaking about military history, with a focus on the Civil War and, most especially, the Army Signal Corps.
Maj. Gen. Hoover firmly believed God had a plan for him - one which required His frequent intervention to keep him on track.
He is survived by his wife: Mary Jo Hoover; daughters: Kate Hoover and her husband Stephen Lee, Holly Bullock and her husband Stephen; sister: Dr. Mary Lou Hale and her husband John; and grandchildren: Maggie Bullock Oliveira and her husband Guilherme, and James Bullock. He was preceded in death by his brother Franklin "Bud" Hoover and sister Eleanor White.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, March 7, 2013, at 2 o'clock at First Baptist Church of Evans, GA with Rev. Bob Purvis and Rev. Dusty Wammack officiating. Following the service, the family will receive friends in the church fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Crossbridge Baptist Church, 3130 Skinner Mill Road, Augusta, GA 30909.
Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484. Please sign the guestbook at www.thomaspoteet.com
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Published in Northern Virginia Daily from Mar. 5 to Mar. 6, 2013