Dead Soldier, "John", was another CB'er whom I first met in early 1974, when I was still running my 1 watt Midland. John was a few years older than the majority of our group was at the time and already married. John soon found himself becoming another adult "supervisor" among the horde of teenagers who called Channel 11 our home. He lived on the same street as Big Al, and Fire Dragon, and Big Al had known him for a few years prior to us all getting into CB. John also liked to experiment with radios and, at one time, had a CB equipment dealer franchise, which he used to offer the locals some better deals on a wider variety of radio equipment than what was generally available from the local outlets (Which was usually Radio Shack and Lafayette). Consequently, John ended up owning a bunch of different radios during his reign, including a Cobra 21, Regency CR-142, Pierce Simpson Lynx, a Midland 13-898b, and the original version of the Cobra 19, plus a few more that I can't remember. He also had a little "fire in the wire" provided by a Courier BL-100 amplifier. Later on, when he wanted another amplifier, he worked a deal with me where he traded a new SBE Cortez for a homemade 75 watt 2 tube amp which I had recently built. John was also a good source for parts. He provided me with the replacement transmit final transistor that I needed when I brought my TRC-47 back to life.
John was a carpenter by trade, but due to an accident he had while cleaning a hunting rifle, he had lost the use of one of his arms, which pretty much limited his physical ability. There were vicious rumors floating around at the time which suggested that John's injury was no accident and was, in fact, either a failed suicide attempt, or an effort to avoid having to go to Vietnam. I never knew for sure, but quite frankly, I didn't care, since John was a good guy to have on the radio. He would give you the shirt off his back if you truly needed it. John let Mitch borrow a few different radios while he saved up to buy one of his own (Which John sold him at a discount). John also gave me his old Radio Shack 1/2 wave antenna, when I was finally allowed to set up a "real" antenna for the first time. My first car also came from John. To say that John was heavily involved in the activities of the local group was an understatement.
John tried unsuccessfully to organize the Channel 11 CB regulars into a club of sorts. When that failed to materialize, he then volunteered to be an assistant post advisor for Explorer Post 621 for a spell. He was instrumental in providing us a base station antenna, a fold-over tower (Which he built out of wood), and the radio for use during the Explorer Road Rally. Unfortunately, he was also the person principally responsible for claiming that we were "with the Civil Defense" during the outing, a big no-no which almost got our charter yanked. Oh well, one "Oh Shit" didn't erase the whole lot of "atta-boy's" that he had achieved during his CB tenure.
At one point, John partnered with Donny (D.J.) to expand his CB franchise business. They were going to set up shop in the basement of another store in a local strip mall. They also wanted me to sign on to do the radio repair work. But things didn't quite work out, and this project never really got off the ground.
John moved a few times (this may have been financially driven) during his CB tenure, and pretty much faded out of the CB scene when he eventually moved into an apartment (no antennas allowed) in late 1976. He was sorely missed, but all good things have to come to end at some point.
Today: I actually saw John about 10 years ago, doing work on Piero's house. I don't know if he recognized me or not, since we didn't talk to each other (he was busy). Further searching has revealed that he is now living in the Scranton Pa. area.