Colonel John J. Wessmiller

Colonel John J. Wessmiller


            Colonel John J. Wessmiller 98, of Chatham, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on August 5, 2017.

            Colonel Wessmiller was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., April 29, 1919.  In 1940, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and participated in the invasions of Africa, Sicily, and Normandy. In 1945, he was commissioned into the regular Army as a First Lieutenant, and served until he was retired with a medical disability in 1962. During his service, he was the Aide de Camp to Lt. Generals Manton S. Eddy and Albert Wedemeyer. He also served as chief of intelligence in the two largest military installations, Ft. Benning, Ga. and the Frankfurt Military Post in Germany. In Africa he was made honorary member of the Royal Spahis, and in Alaska was a member of the 207th Infantry Battalion. He served four years with the 9th Infantry Division, being promoted from private to Company Commander. He survived an ambush in Barneville, Normandy, in which all his comrades were killed. He was Commander of the caisson for the return of the first WWII casualty. He was also a veteran of the atomic tests at Los Alamos. His military schooling included the Command and General Staff College, Infantry Officers School, Advanced Armored School, and many Advanced Intelligence Schools.

            During his years of service, he was wounded three times and received two Purple Hearts.  He also received two Bronze Stars, a Combat Infantry Badge, a Presidential Unit Citation, Army Commendation Ribbons, the French Legion of Honor, and numerous Campaign Ribbons.

            Colonel Wessmiller was an avid horseman, hunter, and sailor, winning the Figawi Race in 1985 aboard his 32-foot sloop The Olivia. He was a member of the Monomoy Yacht Club, Nauset Rod and Gun Club, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military Officers Association of America, Disabled Veterans Association, Chatham VFW, and had served on the Board of Directors of Nauset Wokshop, Inc.  In 2014 Col Wessmiller returned to Normandy to a hero's welcome, 70 years after he landed on the night of D-day.  The film "Return to Normandy" chronicles his journey back.

            He was the husband of the late Olivia Wessmiller (nee Matcham Davies) for 57 years, and father of the late Gerard Wessmiller. He is survived by his two sons: Ray Wessmiller and his wife Debby of Fort Mill, S.C. and Anthony Lawrence and his wife Lois of Medway. He is also survived by his brother Bob Wessmiller and his wife Elsa of Long Island N.Y. and by his nephew Robert Wessmiller of Mooresville, N.C., as well as four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

            Visitation will be held from 4 PM to 7 PM on Friday, August 11th at Nickerson Funeral Home, 87 Crowell Road in Chatham. The Funeral Mass will be held at 10 AM on Saturday, August 12th at Holy Redeemer Church, 57 Highland Ave in Chatham. Burial will take place at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC, at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Nauset Workshop Inc., 895 Mary Dunn Road, Hyannis, MA 02601

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