Captain John Marion Lietwiler’s biography follows:

April 15, 1908 – July 20, 1978

Captain Lietwiler was born in Spillman, West Virginia, on April 15, 1908 and grew up in Pomeroy, Ohio. He attended Ohio University for two years, and then entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, where he graduated in 1932.

His first assignment after graduating from the Naval Academy was on the cruiser USS Cincinnati (CL 6). The ship was stationed at San Francisco at the time, and he and his family lived in Vallejo, California.

His next assignment was on the destroyer USS Rathburne (Destroyer No. 113), a “90-day wonder” from World War I. The ship was stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His final seagoing assignment was on the mine sweeper USS Ogala (CM 4), later sunk in the Pearl Harbor attack.

04.15.08 CAPT John Lietwiler - 23rd CNSG.2
Lieutenant John M. “Honest John” Lietwiler

After service at sea, he came to Washington in 1939 as a communications specialist at the Navy Department. He was sent to the Philippines in 1941 and was on duty as the officer-in-charge of the Fleet Radio Unit when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th.

Captain Lietwiler, along with the last of his team, was evacuated to Australia by submarine and continued to serve in the Pacific. During the final year of the war, he was with the staff of Lord Louis Mountbatten in Colombo, Ceylon.

After brief service in Washington, D.C., he was in charge of the Naval Communications Station at Bainbridge Island, Washington. He relieved CDR Wesley A. Wright as OIC April 1946 and in turn, was relieved by CDR P.P. Leigh on 10 Ju1y 1948. Follow-on tours included Guam, Wahiawa, Hawaii, and Great Lakes, Illinois.

Cryptologic officers in front of the Chapel at 3801 Nebraska Ave., Washington, D.C.
September 1945.
Front row (l-to-r): CAPT H.T. Engstrom; CAPT J.N. Wenger (eyes closed); LT “Jackie” Jenkins;
CAPT L.S. Howeth; CDR Ernest S.L. Goodwin.
Back row (l-to-r): LT Connonton; CDR John M. Lietwiler; CDR Ernest D. Garth; CDR John S. Cross;
CAPT Lawrence H. Frost; CDR R. Fabian

Captain Lietwiler returned to Maryland in 1954 and was with the Naval Security Station in the Office of the Inspector General and then as Acting Head, Naval Security Group in mid-1955.

His last assignment, before retiring in 1960, was with the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland. He then earned a master’s degree from the University of Maryland and taught French in Poolesville High School and North Bethesda Junior High School until a second retirement in 1973. His many wartime decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal and Bronze Star.

Retired Navy Captain John Marion Lietwiler, 70, who was a specialist in naval communications, died on July 20, 1978 at Suburban Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, following a heart attack. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Source: NCVA