Jack Gould, Marshall County WWII Veteran

Veteran Receives Recognition

By Colleen Duncan, Staff Writer
The Intelligencer - Wheeling, W.Va. - Sep 26, 2001

(Typed by Linda Fluharty from hard copy provided by Phyllis Slater.)

(Photo by Alex Kozlowski)

     Moundsville native Jack Gould has received recognition from the French government for helping to defend its shores during World War II.
     Gould joined about 350 of his fellow World War II veterans and West Virginians this month for the Jubilee of Liberty Ceremony in Clarksburg, where they each were presented with Jubilee of Liberty Medals from the French government for serving in the invasion of Normandy in 1944. The medals were presented to the veterans by Gov. Bob Wise and Rep. Alan B. Mollahan, D-W.Va.
     The Jubilee of Liberty Medal is just the latest honor Gould has received for his service in World War II. He also was awarded the the Victory Medal, the European Theatre Medal, the American Campaign Medal and the Asiatic and Pacific Campaign Medal. Gould also was awarded two Bronze Stars, honoring him for his participation in battle during the Normandy invasion and the battle of Anzio, Italy, both of which took place in 1944.
     Gould gave more than two years of service in World War II serving from 1943 to 1945 stationed at a number sites in Africa, Italy, England, Ireland, Spain, Cuba, Pearl Harbor, Enoweitoc, Ulithie Japan and France. Joining the Navy when he was only 18, the Moundsville High School graduate did not know he would be participating in one of the most famous invasions of the war.
     Gould was 19 at the time of the I invasion of Normandy France, where American troops stormed the Normandy beaches of Omaha, Utah, Gold, Sword and Juno. American Soldiers were met with heavy fire power and fighting from the German Army, which at that time occupied the beaches. Engraved in history as one of the bloodiest battles of the war, the invasion took the lives of more than 10,000 men.
     At the time of the invasion, Gould was serving as a third-rank nava1 gunner's mate aboard a liberty ship, which was a merchant ship armed with 20 millimeter guns hauling armored trucks, tanks and anything else needed for battle.
     On June 6, 1944, these ships were packed with American troops and ammunition set on a course for France.
     Gould realized he would be part of the legendary invasion when he first arrived in Great Britain, where he and others waited in Pelmouth for three days for the invasion to begin.
     "We arrived in England in May," he said. "We unloaded cargo in Cardiff, Wales, and then went on to Avonmouth where we loaded the 4,000 tons of ammunition. That's when we really knew we were going."
     Gould said that he was not nervous about the pending invasion, but nothing could have prepared him for what he was about to witness. When Gould's ship, the Hutchinson, arrived on Omaha Beach, the scenes became etched in his memory forever.
     The Hutchinson spent most of the invasion at the Battle at Utah Beach. However, while Gould was at Omaha, he could see some of what transpired on the beach for the 29th and 1st (Big Red One) infantry divisions.
     "The Normandy sky was full of American and English planes," Gould said. "You could see them from horizon to horizon. There were cliffs above the beach where German soldiers were shooting machine guns and bombing American soldiers as they got off the boats. Many soldiers could not get across the beach. On the ship, we were mainly looking out for mines and planes, but we knew things were bad on the beach."
     When soldiers landed on Omaha Beach, they encontered large pieces of steel that were implanted in concrete and strewn across the water and sand as part of an effort by the Germans to stop American troops and boats from landing.
     Gould said this made it extremely difficult for American troops to even get on the beach to fight.
     "The bad thing about Omaha was that soldiers had to run across the beach as soon as they landed," he said. "Some soldiers even drowned because they had to get off the boat in such deep water."
     With 500 naval vessels participating in the invasion of Normandy, the battle on water was treacherous, Gould said. His ship had to maneuver between mines placed on the surface and deep below the water. However, he said mine sweepers were on hand to find I and destroy them.
     Knowing that the waters they were I traveling in were littered with floating bombs, Gould and his shipmates felt uneasy to say the least.
     "We were scared," Gould said. "The water was just full of mines everywhere. A ship blew up right beside mine, and we had to take the dead from the water and the wounded to a hospital ship. Sweepers could find the mines near the surface, like contact mines and floating mines. The problem was that some of these mines were placed 40 feet under the water and the sweepers couldn't find them."
     As the invasion progressed, the Hutchinson was ordered to Utah Beach because it was carrying so much ammunition. Gould's ship was loaded with 4,000 tons of ammunition, and because the shelling worsened at Omaha it was ordered to Utah Beach where it remained for the duration of the invasion.
     Gould said that America can never forget what happen on the beaches of Normandy that fateful day, nor can it forget what American men and boys gave up for their country.
     "The most important thing to remember about that day is the soldiers and sailors who died there," Gould said. "They gave up their lives willingly, so that we could be free."
     After his service in the Normandy invasion, Gould went on to participate in another famous battle of World War II the battle of Anzio, Italy, in January 1944. At this stage of the war, the Italian military was extremely depleted and had already surrendered, so the German Army was defending Anzio. Gould said the battle was lengthy and hard, but eventually the United States was victorious.
     "We went to Anzio and were on the guns for 10 days and 10 nights," he said. "We did not leave the guns. Our food was brought out to us and we slept when we could on steel decks."
     During the two weeks of intense fighting, Gould's ship shot down more than five German planes. The entire battle of Anzio lasted about five months before United States claimed victory.
     Gould came back to the states in 1944 and was assigned to board PC ship 1087, which was a patrol craft used to guide other ships through their course. The ship traveled to the Marshall Islands in the Pacific between Hawaii and Japan where it joined others to wait for the invasion of Japan. Of course the invasion never happened because then President Harry S. Truman ordered the atomic destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
     Although many say the bombing of these two cities was wrong, Gould said it was necessary to save American lives and successfully end the war.
     "Truman did the right thing," Gould said. "The Japanese had about 400 midget suicide submarines that would have sunk a lot of American ships and killed a lot of our men."
     Gould's more than two years of service in World War II took him to many different corners of the world. He was first stationed in Africa and then went on toserve in naples, Italy. From there, he went on to fight in the Battle of Anzio and moved on to many otehr significant locations.
     Gould finished his service in World War II in 1945 - making it home just in time for Christmas.
     Years later, he met Jacqueline Baker, a Moundsville resident and St. Joseph Settlement native. The couple married in 1950 and have lived in Moundsville ever since.


Jack Chalmer Gould, 79, of Morton Avenue, Moundsville, died Wednesday, November 17, 2004 in Wheeling Medical Park.

He was born April 18, 1925 in Moundsville, the son of the late George and Olive Williams Gould.

He was a WWII Navy Combat Veteran having served two invasions, one in Anzio, Italy and the other in Normandy, France. He was a retired sales manager from Pepsi-Cola, having served over 48 years, a lifetime member of VFW #437 and Earl Francis Post #3 American Legion. Jack loved children and animals. He played Santa Claus for 30 years and never accepted donations or charged a fee. He was a coach and original organizer of grade school football, played softball for the ACC Club and was Home Run King 3 years in a row. He was a member and past president of the Moundsville Kiwanis, served 12 years and was past president of the Marshall County Board of Education, past vice-president of the Upper Ohio Valley North/South Football Association; (now the OVAC) was on the committee to construct the Moundsville Field House, a member of the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Peppers, has worked non-stop on the I-68 Project, organized the Moundsville Christmas parade for over 30 years of which he was the 2002 Grand Marshal, served on the Moundsville Municipal Building Commission and received the Dr. David Ealy Community Service Award.

Surviving include his loving wife of 54 years, Jacquelyn Gould; a daughter, Joan (David) Palmer of Moundsville, a grandson, Brian Dayton; two sisters, Dorothy Klonsick of Newport Beach, CA and Jean Lemon of Frankfurt, KY; and several nieces and nephews.

There will be no visitation. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Grisell Funeral Home & Crematory.

Memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society, 300 Scott Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26508.

Submitted by Eric Anderson.