An Airman's Story: Sergeant John Francis Bartek

Sergeant John Francis Bartek was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, on August 30, 1920.

After graduation, in response to World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Services (U.S. Air Force) at 18, and he was assigned to the Pacific.

In October 1942, Sergeant John Bartek and seven others, including Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, crashed into the Pacific Ocean and spent the next 21 days adrift at sea before being rescued. He wrote about his experiences in "My Raft Episode, 21 Days at Sea" and, after the war, lectured about his experiences.

Sergeant John Bartek attended photography school and became a photographer for the New Jersey State Police following his military service, retiring in 1985.

He was known to be a fan of dancing, big band music, and flower photography.

Sergeant John Francis Bartek died on September 9, 2013, and rests in the  Greenwood Cemetery in Hamilton, New Jersey.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

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