Hero Spotlight: Senior Master Sergeant John James Paoletti
Memorial Day marks a very special time of year when we stop to reflect, memorialize and say thanks to the people who have made tremendous sacrifices for us. We want to thank the many brave men and women who have given up so much to keep our country safe and free.
This Memorial Day, Wells of Life wanted to share the story behind one of our memorial wells; The story of a hero, loving father, and devoted husband.
Thank you Victoria, for sharing your father's incredible life with us.
Senior Master Sergeant John James Paoletti: Valiant Hero, Devoted Husband, Loving Father, Dotting Grandfather and Great Grandfather, Warrior, Faithful Servant, Proud Italian-American
Retired Senior Master Sergeant John James Paoletti, 95, went home to the Lord on Saturday, November 14, 2020, in his San Clemente home surrounded by his loving family. John valiantly dedicated service to his country in both the Army and Air Force for over 26 years. During his career, he served in the following overseas countries: Europe, Azores, Japan, Turkey, England, and Italy. While serving his country, Senior Master Sergeant Paoletti received the following decorations and awards: Bronze Star Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Good Conduct Medal with 5 Bronze Loops, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, National Defense Services Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star, Korean Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, United Nations Service Medal, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Upon his retirement, he was commended for his faithful and conscientious service to his country and was honored for his high standard of conduct and leadership.
John was born in Alpha, New Jersey on November 24, 1924, to a large Italian family which included his parents, Domenico and Rosa Paoletti, and his 10 siblings. John entered the Army in 1943 in the 99th Infantry, and most notably fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. At the conclusion of his Army career, John re-enlisted into the United States Air Force, where he served as a Cryptology expert and directed the installation of Crypto Units throughout Europe. During his time in London, England, he met and married the love of his life, Gloria, whom he affectionately called “dear.” Together they raised four daughters. After retiring from his military career John continued working as a Civil Servant in the Postal Service. John spent the last 40 years in Southern California with his loving wife of 58 years and devoted family.
John spent his retirement with Gloria either flying across the world or driving their RV across the United States. One of his passions was sharing his experiences during WWII with local high school students. He was a regular guest speaker in World History classrooms throughout Orange County, where he inspired many young students.
John is survived by his wife, Gloria Paoletti, and his four daughters, Denise Paoletti-Blagojevic, Victoria Paoletti-Tejeda, Michelle Paoletti- Hanger, and Karina M. Cooke. His extended family includes four sons-in-law, eight grandchildren, two great sons-in-law, and recently, John welcomed three great grandchildren into the family.
John will forever be remembered for his bravery, honesty, unselfish devotion to both his country and family, and his eternal optimistic spirit rooted in gratitude. John’s personal narratives and reflections of his military career have been documented and archived through the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.
"The life giving work that Wells of Life facilitates has given us the opportunity to honor our beloved hero, Senior Master Sergeant John James Paoletti. We pray that the well dedicated in his memory will forever flow as a symbol of the love he gave to his country and to those whom he loved. Our wish is that more people become aware of this life-saving tribute. 2 Timothy 4: 7-8"
- Victoria Tejeda, Daughter
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