Slater FFA honors local veteran

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Slater FFA students from the advanced leadership agricultural class met with local WWII veteran Jack Sandwith. Pictured with Sandwith are left to right: Elorin Steinhardt, Hannah Gochenour, Jonathan Clements, Noah Leimkuehler and Nathan Brown.

On Nov. 13, the Advanced Leadership Agricultural Class had the opportunity to sit down and listen to local WWII veteran Jack Sandwith tell of his military experience.

Sandwith grew up in southeast Kansas and as a teenage boy remembers delivering the newspaper with the headline after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He told the class he never thought much about the military, but when his older brothers joined, he also enlisted. At that time there were rules about family members being in the same branch of the military, so one brother went into Air Force, one to the Marines and he joined the Army. At the time Jack was only 16 years old, 5-foot, 5-inches and 100 lbs.

Sandwith recalled being so small that he was almost not allowed to enlist, but he learned at an early age to be an expert marksman with a BB gun from a local Indian. He took these skills with him and eventually was an infantry marksman.

Sandwith also talked about being so small that he was friends in the Army with a guy that had played professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles. He told the class the man's strides were about three times that of his and at times that man would just pick Sandwith up and carry him on his side so he could keep up with the group.

Sandwith served at the Battle of Normandy and told the class about the year he spent in England preparing for D-Day. He told the class a storm had completely changed plans that had been made the whole year they spent in England, including the day of the attack on Normandy.

Sandwith went into numerous details about Normandy. He also fought in four more major battles of WWII and was wounded in battle, but most of the other soldiers were far worse than he was. He battled on for three years and finally came home in 1945. He survived the war along with all his brothers. Sandwith married and raised five children, who all grew up in Slater.

Sandwith said his advice to the younger generation was to get a good education, and those who chose the military route would never regret it, but war was never a good thing.

This summer Sandwith plans to visit Normandy for the 60th anniversary and is a proud veteran. The Slater FFA would like to thank all those that serve the country and hopes to honor all veterans for years to come.