JT was a farm boy from Mason Hall, Tennessee. He, like millions of others, joined the military shortly after Pearl Harbor. JT enlisted in the Navy, and after boot camp and an assignment in a hospital in San Diego, JT and thousands of others were notified that they were now members of the United States Marines, and a new basic training was in order. He was assigned to the Fleet Marines of the First Marine Division. In only a few weeks, in the black of night, he participated in an amphibious landing at Guadalcanal. It has been called the second most horrific battlefield in US wartime history. It was an experience that stayed with him for the rest of his life. He was quiet about it until 2 years before his death.