12th AD "Mystery Division" WWII Veteran, John C. Crews

In Memoriam

Our beloved father, John C. Crews
passed away on August 2, 2012.
He would have been 87 in September.

He was not only an honored, medalled combat veteran, but also a wonderful husband, father, and businessman.

There will not be another generation quite like his.

Maps & Events____Photos____Medals____The Enemy____Home Front

Voyage to Peace____Through the Years & Now ____Final Salute____Links

Maps & Events includes:

• Official Map of the 12th Armored Division Activities in the European Theater.

• My Memories: A contemporary account from John of his war experiences.

• "Speed Is The Password" booklet describing all the events of the 12th AD.

• Field Reports: Activities of Company C during the war, typewritten by John.


Photos includes:

• Personal photographs taken by John Crews in England, France, and Germany during the war.


Medals includes:

The harrowing stories of John's actions that led to the awarding of two Bronze Star medals.


The Enemy includes:

A fascinating and educational look at the rise of Nazi Germany and Adolph Hitler.

• Photographs from Nazi propaganda books brought back from Germany by John after the fighting.

Note: These pages contain


Home Front includes:

Rationing and the crucial support of the folks back home.


Voyage to Peace includes:

The interesting story of John's troop ship voyage back home, and the events that brought the war to a final halt.

• Rare documents from on board the troop ship heralding the Japanese surrender.


Through the Years & Now includes:

A capsule history of John's life since the war and how he is doing today.

See John march in the 12th A. D. Museum's Dedication Parade!

Photos of John at the WWII National Memorial in Washington, D.C.


Final Salute includes:

A page honoring those who did not return.


Links includes:

Sites and information related to the 12th A.D Museum, and other sites concerning World War II and those who fought it.

On the occasion of his 75th birthday in 2000,
the son of John C. Crews presented this site as a living tribute to his father, an honored veteran of combat in the European Theater of World War II.

This site has been fully revised and updated in time for Memorial Day, 2011.

"Lest we forget!"

John C. Crews, was a member of the 12th Armored Division of General Allen's Seventh Army, known with fear and consternation to the German enemy as "The Hellcats".

This division was also known as the "Mystery Division", since for security reasons, its true identity and course were kept secret for some months during the main push through Germany.

The 12th Armored Division had been transferred to General Patton's Third Army to spearhead the crossing of the Rhine and eventually the Danube.

John, nineteen years old, was a radio operator with this valorous unit and was responsible for saving American lives from friendly fire, as well as capturing a German officer.


John Crews in England, awaiting his turn to cross the Channel and join the fighting.

After the war, my Dad wanted nothing more than to go home to a free America, raise a decent family, work at a useful and honorable profession, and try not to think too much about the horrors that he, like so many others, suffered through. He accomplished these goals, and he has enjoyed a full and happy life.

For those who endured it, the memories of the traumatic events of war can be haunting and difficult to live with. It is important for those who came after to honor and keep alive those memories in order to give them the historical and personal weight they demand. It is essential that we as a people remember not only what happened, but the men and women themselves who were directly responsible for the victory.

Many of our veterans from World War II are passing now and their stories and insights are being lost. This site is but one story of thousands from that time, and we hope it will contribute to the collective memory of our nation when it thinks back to the biggest event of the Twentieth Century.



My Dad was there - on the front line. Scared, but competent. Exhausted and freezing, but determined to do the job and survive. He's always been a hero to me, but I would like for others to see his story and acknowledge him as well.

– David Crews


In 2005, John was featured in his hometown newspaper (The Georgetown Sun) along with other vets for the paper's Memorial Day tribute to the local WWII Veterans. In preparation for the interview, Dad wrote down his memories of the war and I have added them to this site (in Maps & Events).

– – – – –

This site created and maintained by David P. Crews

We welcome your comments and correspondence.
email: david@crewscreative.com

NOTE: This site completely revised and partly redesigned in May, 2011.


Next: Maps & Events

Maps & Events____Photos____Medals____The Enemy____Home Front

Voyage to Peace____Through the Years & Now ____Final Salute____Links


2011 David P. Crews. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about the use of photos or content from this site.

Photo credits: Unless otherwise indicated, all photos on this site are from the private collection of John C. Crews.
Certain photos are reproduced courtesy of the Franklin Roosevelt Library.
Official Army photos by the U.S. Army Signal Corps. are reproduced from the original booklets and materials.
The photo of the "Marine Devil" is courtesy of Bruce T. Doll, www.imagesofvision.com.

All graphics and photographs on this site are 2011, David P. Crews, unless otherwise noted.

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