Teacher and Family

Teacher and family

name: COL John F. Rudman, Ed.D.

School: Indian Mills Memorial School

Class: Social Studies

School Phone: (609)-268-0440

About The Teacher

Ask me! I’ll tell you anything you want to know !!!!

But, you should know about a real American hero: my Dad. He was a three
letter athlete in high school: baseball, football, and boxing.
After high school, he had a scholarship to play baseball for St.
Bonaventure University, studying Architecture. His first glove was
purchased by his parish priest in recognition of his induction as an All-
State first baseman for NJ in 1937. He could only stay at St. Bonaventure
for a semester because of family concerns. The depression was tough then,
and he came home to help out, getting a job in the post office.

When World War II was about to break out, he was drafted in 1941, along
with millions of others, but was initially rejected because of his broken
nose and broken fingers (suffered during his high school football days).
Helmets had no facemasks and he was a center. They told him he wouldn’t
be able to breathe correctly and that he would have trouble firing a
weapon.

In May, 1942, he went to Newark, NJ and joined. He asked if his broken
bones and previous 4F (unfit) status would be a problem. The doctor told
him to ask the guy in front of him: he was blind in one eye! They were
both accepted.

Once inducted at Camp Kilmer, my dad shipped out to basic training and was
ultimately assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Camp Croft, South
Carolina. Because of his civilian experience, he was made the battalion
mail clerk. But that was not going to be an initial priority when the
invasion came. The 4th was shipped out to England in 1943 and his unit,
Company H, 8th Infantry Regiment was chosen as part of the lead Battalion
to land for the division on Utah beach on June 6th, 1944.

At 0631 AM on that day, Dad landed off Navy Boat #44 with his best friend
Bert Nicholls in Boat #42. They split up all the NCO’s and Officers so
they wouldn’t all die at once. They shared everything. Dad carried the
razor, Bert the shaving cream. Dad carried the mirror, Bert carried the
comb. It was as close as two men could be.

Their job was crucial. Bert was the Bazookaman, Dad was his loader.
Within 10 seconds of landing, Bert was dead, and my Dad became the
Bazookaman. But, according to him, the light wouldn’t come on, so the
system was useless and he threw it away.

By the end of the day, he was the machine gunner. But, his best friend
in the world, Bert Nicholls died on that beach. He is buried in Bellmawr,
NJ, just 10 miles from me and I go there whenever I can (St. Mary’s New
Cemetery).

Until his last days, whenever he would talk of Bert he would breakdown in
tears. They were the only times I saw my father cry.

Dad continued in combat on that day and the days following. After D-Day,
he was in the battles of Carentan and St. Lo; the Breakout where he
suffered a concussion when our own Air Force dropped its bomb load short
and killed 150 men of his battalion, but he never left the field of
battle. His was the first unit into Paris, but they withdrew to let the
French under DeGaulle enter victoriously.

He was then in the Battle of the Huertgen Forest, the longest battle
in history of the US Army where he suffered Trench mouth, but never left
the field of battle (later losing all his teeth) and lost 42 pounds
because he hated the K-rations.

After coming out of that battle, he was caught in the middle of the Battle
of the Bulge on December 16, 1944, a mere 5 days after coming off the line
and 6 straight months of combat.

He was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor for his actions on January 29, 1945
while re-supplying his unit while under intense enemy fire.

He continued in combat throughout Germany, ending the war in Ruth, Germany
after his division liberated a sub-camp of Dachau (a Concentration Camp
operating deep inside Germany). By coincidence, I was in Ruth in 1974 on a
deployment with my firing battery while I was stationed in the 1st
Infantry Division’s 7th Field Artillery (weird).

After the war in Europe, his unit was returned to the states, he got
married in July 1945. Then he was put on a train and a ship to invade
Japan in November, 1945. Luckily for me and my siblings, the Japanese
surrendered and he came home in October, 1945.

But, he never forgave the Japanese because he was seasick for 8 weeks. He
just wanted to get off that boat!!!

When he was mustered out of service, he went back to the post office and
delivered mail on College Ave on Rutgers Campus for the next 25 years
where his Grandson later went to school. He ended his career in 1974 aS a
Postal Supervisor, never really telling anyone anything about his war
years. All his stories were focused on the fun times, none of death and
destruction he had witnessed for so long. I guess he just didn’t want to
relive the pain.

To him, it was more important to have a family and let them live for the
future, not in his past.

America lost a real hero on December 15th, 2007 when my Dad finally lost
his battle with Alzheimer’s. He was 88. There will never be another like
him.

As for me, there isn’t anything special to even consider.

I was in the Army from 1972 until 1999 as a Field Artillery officer. I
commanded at every level from a 3-man Nuclear Support Team specializing in
8″ and 155 mm nuclear weapons to a Group responsible for training 13,000
soldiers. The most fun I ever had was commanding a howitzer battery in an
Armored Cavalry Regiment on the East German border during the Cold War in
1980-81. I also commanded an 8-inch Battalion of 672 men in both Germany and
the United States.

I have three brothers and one sister. My brothers are Mike (actually his
first name is Robert but my dad didn’t want a junior), Tom, and Richard
(oldest to youngest). My sister’s name is Jeanne. I am the middle child
and the only one who is left-handed.

My two sons are Jason and Matthew. Jason works for TD Ameritrade He
graduated from the University of Delaware in 2004. He received his Masters
in Business Administration from Drexel in 2014. He married Liz Peck on July 15, 2017. They had their first child,
Lillian Alexis (Lily), on September 2, 2019. She is our second grandchild.
Matt graduated from Rutgers with a double major in Math and
Statistics and a minor in economics. Currently, he is employed with
the AON in Somerset, NJ, an actuarial consulting firm. He completed
graduate school in actuarial science at Columbia University in the fall of
2010 with a GPA of 3.48 without ever passing one of the tests given by his
professors! He married Francesca Commisso on October 26, 2013. She
completed her BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) in April, 2013!!!
They welcomed our first grandchild into the world on February 17, 2016. Her
name is Juliet.

My wife’s name is Anita. She is the Associate Provost at Rowan College of Burlington County
(RCBC), since September 2016. She earned her Doctorate in Higher
Education in April, 2013. April was a big month for us!!!!…..It is
quite a big deal in our house. She has eaten a bowl of vanilla ice cream
with a banana every night since I’ve known her, even if she has to wear
her ski jacket because it’s so cold!!!

Our dog is a Yellow Lab named Tybee after Tybee Island outside Savannah
Georgia, where we have a timeshare. She was born on May 18, 2010.
Matthew was born in Savannah while I was stationed in the 24th Infantry
Division.

In High School, I was a pitcher on the baseball team. My school, St.
Joseph’s High School in Metuchen, NJ, won the Middlesex County
championship in 1968. I won the semi-final game against Jamesburg by a
score of 7-2. Then I played “B” ball with Joe Theismann, Drew Pearson,
Clarence Smith, and Dave Wohl (ask your parents/ grandparents, they will
probably know who they are). However, I had to go to work to pay for
school so, goodbye baseball for thirty years.

I like to fly fish, hunt, and skydive. I have built five fly rods, and am
getting the hang of fly tying However, I haven’t been able to
skydive in a while because of my knee replacements, my hip replacement, and my wife! I can’t
think of a better sport to raise your confidence level in yourself. The
first time I was in a plane in 1970, I jumped! As a matter of fact, I did
not land in a plane until I was on my way to Korea in 1972(3 times up, 1
time landed).

I finished my Doctorate in Education Leadership K-12, on August 11, 2011.
I had my knees replaced on 22 August 2011 as a celebration! I might be
finally, done with formal schooling, but, I learn something new every day,
from 8th graders!