Service Number: 318513
Birth and Early Life:
John was the oldest son of John D. and Catherine Fallon of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Though their blue-collar town was heavily supported by coal mining, John D.’s position as a civil engineer with the mines meant his son could finish high school. Shortly after graduation, the 20-year-old Fallon enlisted in the Marines. (1)
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Fallon enlisted in Pittsburg on July 28, 1941; the next day he was on his way to Parris Island. He fit the profile of a sea-duty Marine and, after completing the required additional training at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Virginia, was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Wasp.
Private Fallon reported aboard the Wasp on January 1, 1942. He served aboard her for the next nine months, rising to the rank of Private First Class. His duties aboard the ship are unknown, but his battle station was probably an antiaircraft gun with a crew of other Marines.
Fallon sailed with his carrier to the British Islands, where they carried two loads of RAF fighters to bolster the defenses of Malta. In May, they were ordered back to the United States for further transfer to the Pacific. After traversing the Panama Canal and spending a week in San Diego, Fallon was on his way to the Solomon Islands. He was promoted to Private First Class around this time, and spent time as a messman in the Marine galley.
Although he spent quite a bit of time at his battle station, Fallon likely fired no shots during all this time. Most of the carrier’s aggression in the Solomon Islands was carried out by her aircraft.
Date Of Loss:
On September 15, 1942, PFC Fallon and his fellow Marines were standing at general quarters, watching as a patrol of Wildcats and Dauntless dive bombers were recovered for refueling. Suddenly, the ship heeled over to starboard; torpedo tracks had been spotted, but had been seen too late. Three torpedoes hit the Wasp in quick succession, setting off her fuel and ammunition in a series of enormous explosions. Thirty-five minutes later, at 1520, the order was given to abandon ship.
John Fallon never made it off the Wasp; no survivors recall seeing him after the initial torpedo hit. He is presumed to have gone down with his ship.
Next Of Kin:
Mother, Mrs. Caroline Fallon
Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.
(1) The 1940 Census gives John Fallon’s date of birth as “about 1922,” while a family tree on Ancestry.com claims December 2, 1920.