Grave marker for Johnny G.
Aleck in the Old Oroville Cemetery, Oroville (Butte county), California.
Johnny enlisted in the Army at the Veterans
Memorial Hall, in Oroville, CA. on 30 November 1942. He was inducted on
9 January 1943 while in the midst of his senior year of high school
where he had been a member of the Oroville Tigers football team.
High School yearbook, aptly named "The Nugget," was filled with
patriotic themes noting that they were gradating "in the middle of a
great war" and sadly noted two young men of earlier graduating classes
that had already become casualties.
Johnny was assigned the dangerous job as a parachutist
and after a few quick battalion changes Private Aleck was permanently
assigned to the elite HHC 509th PIB which stands for Headquarters,
Headquarters Parachute Infantry Battalion. Aleck was given the job as a
radio operator which he believed was due to his bilingual skills of
being fluent in the Greek language having been born to Greek immigrant
T5 Aleck was transferred to Hq 2nd Bn, 508th PIR on 1 March
1945 when the 509th PIB disbanded due to having lost so many men in the
Battle of the Bulge. In June Aleck received his Sergeant stripes, and on
30 June 1945 married his French beauty, Monique. While in the 508th PIR he
served in the Honor Guard in Frankfurt, Germany protecting General
Dwight D. Eisenhower. Sgt. Aleck left for America from France in late
October and arrived in N.Y. on 10 November 1945. He was discharged on 12
November 1945 at Camp Beale, CA.
His military decorations include the Combat Infantryman
Badge, Parachutist Badge with one combat jump star, EAME Campaign Medal
with arrowhead device and six bronze star devices, WWII Victory Medal,
3rd Zouave Regiment Badge, Good Conduct Medal, Belgian Fourragére,
Distinguished Unit Badge w/2 OLC, Army Discharge Lapel Button issued Sep
1945 and four Overseas Service Bars.
daughter, Marianne Aleck, who submitted the above narrative, has written a book entitled “The Liberty
Club," that she described as, "a non-fiction, layered family memoir that
follows the lives of a Greek and French family through their true life
adventures that she coined, "A slice of Americana with a European
twist." A good portion of Ms. Aleck’s book covers her father Johnny
Aleck’s first hand war stories as well her French mother’s accounts. It
can be ordered through