Johnny Smolka was a living legend when I was a child and I remember him fondly from many trips with with my Dad to the golf course and once or twice to talk with Johnny on WJGA radio. Chip has written a wonderful article about this fascinating man that I am pleased to be able to share with my readers. I hope you enjoy meeting this unique individual from my childhood and many others in Jackson Georgia.
This week will be the anniversary of one of the most pivotal moments in our nation’s history. Seventy-three years ago, United States Marines landed on the beaches of Guadalcanal. This marked the first ground action against the Japanese Empire following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Among those first Marines who stepped onto the beaches was PFC John J. Smolka. He would play a significant role in the campaign that ensued. My father met “Johnny” after the war and they became close friends. He would become my friend as well.
I could see his big grin through the open window of his beige Ford Torino as he turned into our driveway. I would interrupt my session of playing in the yard to rush over and say hello. He would get out of his car and say, “Hello Chipper!”, and I would greet him and walk with him into our home.
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