My name is Patty Cramer and I’m a YLP resident.   I am a fourth generation quilter who has been quilting for over 50 years.   I met Dr. John McMillan’s  wife Yvonne playing canasta and then learned that her husband, who has a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration, was a World War II veteran.  This prompted me to get busy and make him a quilt to honor him and his service to our country. John and Yvonne have lived in YLP for 21 years.  John received his quilt during the monthly birthday club at Black Bear Diner in Fresno.  Along with John’s quilt, he was presented with a flag which flew over the U.S. Capitol and Certificates of Recognition from both Congressman Tom McClintock and State Senator Andreas Borgeas.

By Patty Cramer

John Mc Millan was just a small town boy from Grove City, Pennsylvania when World War II broke out.  John and some of his high school buddies were all called for their physical for the service.   Their results were returned and all of them were 1A.  John knew he was going to be drafted, so he chose to enlist.  He was allowed to finish his semester of college and then was sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for basic training.

John recalls an incident during basic training when he was being trained on a 105mm Howitzer.  The gun was fired, came up off the ground and a shell shot through a tree where soldiers were standing close by.  Needless to say, this incident triggered a visit from the upper echelon inquiring about what happened.  It was certainly a close call.

Yvonne and John McMillan with the quilt.

After leaving basic training, John was sent to Weinheim, Germany.  He lived in a German home, as all the homes had been taken.   Later on he was moved to “fancy quarters.”

He remembers how kind the German people were and also how desolate the women had become, many living on potatoes.  Seventy five percent of the men between the ages of 15 and 60 had been killed.  John remembers watching the women moving bricks from destroyed buildings, looking for bodies.  That memory is as real today as it was back then.

Strong in John’s memory was the segregation that occurred in the service, he remembers Blacks getting all the dirty work.  This bothered John.

John was a sports editor in college and when he was in basic training, the commander had a clerk-typist who couldn’t type.  One day, the commander asked if anyone could type, John (against advice to never volunteer for anything) raised his hand and became a clerk-typist for the service. 

While John never thought about making the Army a career, he did became the sports editor for “The Trooper” while serving in Germany.

Yvonne, John’s wife of 72 years, was always attracted to men in fatigues, but when she saw John in a suit she knew he was the one for her.  

John received the World War II Victory medal, which reads, “Freedom of Fear and Want, Freedom of Speech and Religion”.

John is proud of his time spent as a soldier and wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

On behalf of a grateful nation, we appreciate your service to our country.   Thank you.