Lieutenant junior grade (LTjg) John Hartwell Fezler was born 4 September 1920 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He reported to the United States Naval Midshipmen’s School at Notre Dame University on 27 February 1943. LTjg Fezler received his commission in the United States Naval Reserve on 27 May 1943 and attended Navy Mine Disposal School at American University Campus, Washington, D.C. Upon graduation from Mine Disposal School Class #11 on 4 December 1943, LTjg Fezler was assigned to Mobile Explosives Investigation Unit ONE, Navy 134, Freemantle, Australia.
Commander Service Force, SEVENTH Fleet, assigned LTjg Fezler temporary additional duty orders to the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Observer in preparation for landing on Leyte Island, Philippines. Beginning on 23 October 1944, the Battle of Leyte Gulf was the largest naval battle of World War II. A battle between American and Australian forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy, U.S. troops invaded the island of Leyte as part of a strategy aimed at isolating Japan from critical natural resources, originating from Southwest Asia, that sustained its war-making capabilities. LTjgFezler’s orders were to report to G-2, SIXTH Army, Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea with final assignment to G-2, U.S. X Corps at Finschhafen, Territory of New Guinea.
LTjg Fezler boarded a U.S. troop carrier plane at Cyclops Airdrome, near Hollandia, on a flight bound for Finschhafen Airfield, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. The plane went missing and was never located. LTjgFezler was declared dead on the day of the mission – 1 October 1944 – and was memorialized both on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila, Philippines and at the Oklahoma Veterans Cemetery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
LTjg John Hartwell Fezler was awarded the American Theater Campaign Medal, European-Africa-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with three Campaign Stars), and World War II Victory Medal.