John Augustine Hughes
February 6, 1919 – January 7, 2022
John was born February 6, 1919 in Rivera, CA and raised in San Fernando Valley. He graduated from San Fernando High School in 1937 and then joined the Marine Corps Reserves. Soon after, he decided to enter active duty in the Marine Corps. As an airplane mechanic his first duty station was Mooring Mast, Ewa, Oahu, Hawaii. (Barber’s Point) He was there during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In February 1942, he received orders to return to Pensacola for flight training which be completed in December. From 1942-1945 he participated in 150 aerial combat missions in the South Pacific including campaigns in the Philippines, Gilbert and Marshall Islands, Bouganville, New Georgia and New Britain. In 1946 John was transferred to China for observation and transport squadrons and in August 1948 returned to Ewa Field as Material Officer. In 1949 he was assigned to Cherry Point, NC fighter squadron where he flew Corsairs, F4Us, and F2H Banshees. In 1951 he began his helicopter training in Quantico, VA. In 1952 he was assigned to VMO6 in Korea and flew search & rescue and Medical EVACS (MASH) helicopters. In March 1953 he again returned to El Toro, CA. From January to May 1954, he was stationed on the USS Bairoko, at Bikini Atoll where he provided helicopter support for ongoing atomic bomb testing. From 1955 to 1956 he was at Quantico, VA for Amphibious Warfare School. And in 1956 he headed Rotary Wing Section, Maintenance Division at the Bureau of Aeronautics, Washington, D.C. Throughout his career John was a member of the Marine Corps shooting team. In October 1960 he was stationed at Okinawa, Japan as Airfield Operations Officer returning in 1961 to El Toro, CA for helicopter duty until his retirement from the Marine Corps in June 1964.
Flying 150 missions during his service in WW II and Korea he was awarded numerous commendations including: Distinguished Flying Cross (4), Air Medal (12), American Defense, China Service, Asiatic Pacific Campaign, American Campaign, Victory WWII, Philippines Liberation, Korean Service, United Nations Korean Service, National Defense, Distinguished Pistol Shot, Distinguished Rifleman, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Citation
Born to Con and Catherine Hughes in Rivera, CA, he was the youngest of three children (Catherine & Ralph). At San Fernando High School he was active in Football and Track. He maintained his zeal for fitness throughout his life. He was married to Mary Duba (May 5, 1919 – Oct. 9, 1992) in 1946 and is survived by his five children. (Lorie, John, Jerry, Nancy & Jim). His passion for learning led him to attend California State University, Fullerton, earning his Bachelors degree in History in 1968. He had many friends from all walks of life and will be missed by all.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew –
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
High Flight by John Gillespie Magee