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Grand Marshal

John KlansekJohn Klansek
Radioman Third Class, US Navy, 1944-1946
Personnelman Second Class, US Navy, 1950-1952 

John Klansek was born on December 7, 1925, in Luzerne, Pennsylvania, to Slovenian parents, John served in World War II from January 1944 to January 1946 and again in the Korean police action from August 1950 to February 1952.

Immediately after graduating high school at the age of 18 he volunteered for the U.S. Navy, attending boot camp in Sampson, New York and radioman operator school in Noroton Heights, Connecticut, graduating as Radioman Third Class.  He was sent to the South Pacific as a part of an amphibious communications unit landing behind and supporting Marine forces to capture the islands heading up to Japan.  At a stop in Hawaii his unit was unexpectedly dissolved, and he was reassigned to the Naval Air Station in Honolulu as a Radioman Operator, relaying coded messages to our ships.  Within sight of Pearl Harbor, this station remained a critical communications center for the duration of the war.

Like many other responsible, enterprising young people who had served our country, John took advantage of the G.I. Bill, enabling him to graduate with a B.S. Degree in Economics from Wilkes College in PA. Having stayed in the Naval Reserves, he was recalled to active duty for the Korean police action as a Personnelman Second Class and was assigned to the U.S.S. Cape Esperance.  This ship, a converted carrier on a Kaiser hull, transported airplanes, supplies and troops to Japan, Eniweitok, the Philippines and other U.S. islands in the Pacific.   During his military service John earned nine commemorative medals, the Good Conduct Medal, and a special letter and commemorative medal from the Korean government.John Riding in parade

John started his Federal career in 1952 when he joined the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington, D.C.  This agency had subsequent name changes to fit changing missions and is now the Department of Energy.  He had the distinction of working on the earliest nuclear warfare projects and the subsequent more progressive peaceful civilian uses of nuclear energy.  His government career spanned 38 years, with retirement in 1989.

Klansek has lived in Montgomery County since 1956 and is now retired from the Federal Government and living outside of Damascus with wife, Judy.  He raised his five children in the family-friendly town of Rockville.  Proudly two of his granddaughters have served as Rockville American Legion “Poppy Representatives” in past Memorial Day Parades.