John Dibble Jr.
Biography: John Dibble Jr., “Jack”, was born on November 6, 1917 at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He was the son of Army Surgeon Colonel John Dibble and Mary W. Corbly. As an Army “brat”, Jack traveled throughout the U.S. along with Germany and the Philippines, with his family.
On June 15, 1940, Jack married the former Leslie D. Cooney, from New York City, who was the daughter of Stanley L. Cooney and Emma Elsa Dalcher. Over the years, they had 5 children; John III, Michael, Debbie, Leslie and Julie. His wife, Leslie, passed away in 1967 while he was in Vietnam. At some point, he married Judy Louise Clarke, from Overton, Tennessee, who was the daughter of William H. Clarke and Juda Edith Huddleston.
Service Time: He enlisted in the Pennsylvania Horse Cavalry, later moving to the Horse Drawn Artillery before receiving a Presidential appointment to West Point, entering from Evanston, Illinois. While there, he participated in swimming and Chapel Choir and was a Pistol Marksman. He was known by the nickname "Smilin' Jack" and was considered a model cadet and a fine man to serve under, over or alongside. He graduated with the Class of 1941.
While we don’t have information regarding his previous assignments in the European Theater of Operations, on March 2, 1945, Jack was assigned as Battalion Commander to the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion, replacing Lt. Colonel Clifford D. Templeton, who was killed in action, the day before. The 705th, now attached to the 11th Armored Division, supported the drive to Rhine River in March, crossing on the 29th, at Oppenheim, Germany. They continued driving across Germany through Bayreuth in April, arriving in Kirchschlag, Austria, on 6 May. By May 16th, they were in Urfahr, Austria, and began occupation duties.
After returning home, Jack became a paratrooper and aviator, attending the Army Command and General Staff School and the Army War College. In 1966, he was assigned as Deputy Commander of the 1st Aviation Brigade in Vietnam and was responsible for the 4500 non-divisional Army aircraft and the 20,000 men who flew and maintained them. From there, he was assigned to CINCPAC as Deputy Chief of Plans, responsible for the plans and policies of the Pacific Command, including the orderly withdrawal of troop increments.
His awards included 2 Bronze Star medals, along with a Silver Star, Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross and 6 Air Medals. He was also nominated to the Army Aviation Hall of Fame.
Jack retired in 1970, after 30 years of service to his country and was recruited by Grumman International as Special Assistant to the President to handle their plans for Singapore. Louise passed away in 1994, and he married Beverly T. Rawson in 1997.
His civilian life was as busy as the military years had been, where he contributed to the selection of new candidates for West Point. He was a member of the U.S. Cavalry Association, Military Officer’s Assoc. of America, (Cape Canaveral Chapter), Military Order of the World Wars, The Loyal Legion, Assoc. of Former Intelligence Officers, Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Brevard (County) Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
John Dibble Jr. passed away on November 21, 2012, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 3, Site 2062-F, Arlington, Virginia. We would like to thank Find-a-Grave contributors DB Johnson, for use of the color photo, and John Evans for use of the grave marker photo. We also would like to thank E-yearbook.com for the photo of Jack, as a cadet, at West Point. The photo is used by permission of Digital Data Online, Inc.