North High School Wall of Honor
John Robert Wilber
Class of June, 1950
John Robert Wilber, 1950
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953. PAGE IN PROGRESS.
John Robert Wilber

Bob graduated in the June, 1950 North High class. He enlisted or was drafted when and where? His service number was 4244263. Bob's next of kin was listed as Mr. R.B. Wilber, 1821 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA.

John Robert Wilber
Year   Rank   Status
June, 1950   Graduated   Graduated from North High School, Des Moines, IA.
August, 1950 x Schooling x Entered Iowa State College; Ames, IA.
Summer, 1950 x Data entry x Korean War started.
January, 1951 x Military x Attempted to join the US Marine Corps Reserve in Des Moines, IA.
January, 1951 x Military x Joined US Navy Reserve, Des Moines, IA.
August, 1951 x Student x Volunteered for active duty.
Sept., 1951 x US Navy x Left for US Navy boot camp, Great Lakes Naval Training Center, IL.
Dec., 1951 x US Navy/
Seaman Apprentice
x Completed boot camp. Assigned to *USS John A. Bole (DD-755), destroyer; US Task Force 77, 7th Fleet, Pacific Ocean.
January, 1951 x Enroute x To Hawaii, Japan, Korea
as above x US Navy/
Seaman Apprentice
x Normal duties were related to pay record maintenance.
as above x US Navy/Seaman
x Eventually became a full seaman
as above x US Navy/DK3
x Transferred to the **USS Buck (DD-761), another destroyer
as above x US Navy/
x An ammo loadeer on a 40mm duo. Later, a local surface operator on a 3 inch 50mm duo.
as above x US Navy/

Combat. The ship's normal routine was to maneuver close to shore (1,000-2,000 yards), attacking all known and/or suspected enemy troop concentrations or shore batteries, attempting to draw their fire. Our ship's radar was tied in with one of the US battleships over the horizon which would return the enemy fire along with us as we took evasive action as well as fighting back.

Late 1952
xx US Navy/DK3
Acting DK2
x Returned to the US after about 6-7 months to prepare the ship for another tour off of Korea, which we did in early 1953. The same scenario was repeated until the cease fire was signed in June, 1953.
July 6, 1953? x US Navyx x I received a Red Cross notice that my father was terminally ill and, after the cease fire was signed and the ship returned to Japan, I was released with open orders to find my way home any way I could from shipside, which is a total adventure in itself. I made it home to see my father for a short time. I spent the rest of my four-year Navy obligation in the inactive reserves and was then honorably discharged.
x Civilian x Living in IA.
photo of Bob Wilbur John Robert Wilber
John Robert Wilbur
USS John A. Bole (DD-755) USSJohn A Bole (DD-755)
*Insignia and photo of USS John A. Bole (DD-755); an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer-
China; Midway; Japan; Korea, Okinawa; Formosa; Bombardments 80; San Diego; Hawaii
*USS John A. Bole (DD-755)
USS John A. Bole (DD-755), an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Lieutenant Commander John Archibald Bole, Jr., who was the commanding officer of Amberjack which is thought to be lost on 16 February 1943.

Korean War
With the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, John A. Bole began intensive preparations for combat service. Sailing from San Diego on 30 September, she steamed via Japan to join Task Force 77 off the Korean coast. With the brilliant amphibious assault on Inchon on 15 September, an end run made possible by control of the sea, the tide of the ground war rapidly reversed. The nearly victorious enemy armies far to the south collapsed. Bole, exemplifying the flexibility of seapower promptly shifted from amphibious attack to fire support of our advancing troops. She then screened carriers during the vital air operations, helping to support both battle-line air strikes and interdiction of northern supply lines. On April 11, 1951, Bole was stationed near the coast of mainland China, three miles off Swatow (Shantou), China, on the orders of General Douglas MacArthur, in an unsuccessful attempt by him to provoke China into a war with the United States. (See James Edwin Alexander, Naval History: Jan/Feb 1997, Vol. 11, Iss. 1; pg. 48, 3 pgs, U.S. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD). Bole also steamed with support convoys into Inchon before returning to San Diego in mid-June 1951.

The veteran ship was underway again for Korea on 3 January 1952. Upon arrival she helped maintain the pressure on Communist troops in the stalemated land war by screening carriers during air attacks. Bole also took part in shore bombardment along both the east and west coasts of North Korea, operating with British and Dutch ships. The ship moved to the Formosa Straits for patrol duty designed to deter Chinese Communist aggression there, finally returning to San Diego on 11 July 1952.

Following a yard period in which she added 3-inch rapid fire guns to her armament, Bole departed on 21 February 1953 for her third Korean tour. During March she operated off the coast with Saint Paul, and sailed on 10 April for the Formosa Straits to resume patrol duty. Then after returning to Korean waters, the destroyer sailed on 1 June to Wonsan harbor for 6 days dueling with shore batteries while protecting the Allied-held offshore islands. She then screened New Jersey before the Korean armistice on 27 July 1953, after which she returned to Japan. Escort duty with Princeton closed her cruise, and Bole arrived San Diego on 22 September 1953.
Insignia of USS Buck (DD-761) USS Buck (DD-761)
**Insignia and photo of USS Buck (DD-761) Destroyer
**USS Buck, DD-761
Late in 1950, as a unit of Destroyer Division 71, Buck joined the United Nations Forces in Korea. While there she suffered considerable damage in a collision with John W. Thomason (DD-760). Buck was ordered back to the west coast after temporary repairs at Sasebo, Japan. Between January and March 1951 she underwent repairs at Bremerton, Washington, and then returned to Korean waters arriving 30 April 1951. She operated with United Nations Forces until July when she returned to the west coast. In January 1952 Buck, with Destroyer Division 71, departed for another tour in the Western Pacific. She operated with the shore bombardment forces and with the fast carrier task force until returning to San Diego 11 July 1952. On her sixth Far Eastern tour, between 21 February and 22 September 1953, she operated with TF's 72, 77, 95, 96, and 97 off Korea until the Armistice was declared. Buck continued operations along the western seaboard and completed at least three more Far Eastern cruises. Buck received six battle stars for her Korean service.
John Robert Wilber
Seaman; E3
United States Navy
US Navy Seal

US Navy Insignia

John Robert Wilber
John Robert Wilber
Seaman; E3

National Defense; Korea Service Medal w/Two Stars;
United Nations Service Medal/Korea;
Navy Occupation Medal;
China Service Medal

Medals authorized: US Navy Commemorative; Honorable Servide Commendation; National Defense Service Medal;
China Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; WWII Occupation Medal-Navy and Navy Occupational Service Medal; Korean Defense Service Medal; United National Korean Service; United Nations Medal; ROK Korean War Service
Medal; Combat Action Ribbon; Combat Service Commendation Medal; American Defense Commendation Medal;
Korean Presidential Unit Citation; United Nations Military Service Commendation; Cold War Victory Commemorative
(1) Information was obtained from the Records on Military Personnel Who Died, were Missing in Action, or Prisoners of War as a result of the Vietnam War. This document can be found online at the National Archives and Records Administration at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: John Robert Wilber's 1950 class page is:
09/18/10: Currently living in IA.
Music: "Anchors Aweigh"
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