Lutz, John (Interview transcript and video), 2019


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Lutz, John (Interview transcript and video), 2019



Smither, James (Interviewer)


John Lutz was born on May 24, 1919 in Brooklyn, New York, and attended high school in Queens. He graduated high school in 1936 and went on to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to become an engineer. In 1940, he earned his bachelor’s degree in automotive engineering and eventually went to work for the Newport News Shipbuilding Company in North Carolina. After three years Lutz wanted a more active role in the ongoing Second World War, so he traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he enlisted into the Navy in late 1943. For Basic Training, he was transferred to Officers Training School in Princeton, New Jersey, for three months. He was then sent to Camp Bradford, Virginia, where he practiced operating in an LST (tank landing ship) crew as an Engineering Officer. From there, he and his crew shipped out to the South Pacific. When traveling through Hawaii, Lutz’s ship also took on the cargo of a smaller LCT (tank landing craft) which they transported to Okinawa. For the invasion of Okinawa, Lutz’s LST was outfitted with pontoons, which helped during the unloading of the LCT. Once all the men and gear the ship was carrying had made it ashore, kamikaze pilots became more of a threat as Lutz’s LST began transferring Marines between different beaches and landing points along the island’s coast. Despite a close encounter, his LST was never struck by a kamikaze pilot. While transferring troops to another beach, his ship struck a coral reef, damaging one of its propeller’s blades, and were forced to travel south to Leyte Gulf in the Philippines for repairs. After the Japanese surrender, his LST transferred troops and supplies into mainland Japan to help with the rebuilding process. His ship was also assigned to help transport a Japanese unit, originally stationed in Palau. Lutz was then discharged at Tokyo Bay and took a series of flights back to the United States. In 1946, he went to work for Baldwin Automotive Company and joined the Navy Reserves. After the outbreak of the Korean War, he was called up again and was assigned to the USS Adria. Lutz remained in the Navy reserves for 22 years before retiring in 1964.




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Grand Valley State University Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI, 49401.


Veterans History Project (U.S.)






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Lutz, John, “Lutz, John (Interview transcript and video), 2019,” Digital Collections, accessed April 14, 2024,
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