The Official Newsletter of the
Shenandoah Valley Chapter #313
Korean War Veterans Association
John W. (Jack) Keep
Jack was born in New York in 1934. His father was a printer by trade, but because of the depression work was hard to find, so in 1939, he joined the New York police force and remained for the next 27 years.
Rachel Hubbard and Jack Keep in Korea
Jack's family lived just a short distance from the Long Island Sound and during the war a Navy patrol craft was moored there. Jack used to talk to the sailors and tried to keep pace with them as they walked up the hill going on liberty. From the time he was a small boy he wanted to be a sailor.
The Korean War broke out while he was in high school and he tried to enlist when he was still 16 years old. The recruiter told him "come back after your birthday". So as soon as he turnd 17, he enlisted and was sent to Bainbridge, MD for boot camp. Some of his uncles had served in the Navy and told "war stories" which his Father believed. He said to Jack, "If they ask you what kind of ship you want to serve on, try to get on a Destroyer". Jack thinks he was influenced by the Strombecker ship models he built. Jack had the idea that it was difficult to get "Tin Can" duty. Boy, was he mistaken!
Jack was sent to the USS Gatling (DD671) which became his home for the next two years. Sea life was a great advenure for a young man like him. He traveled the world and in early 1953 he was sent to Korea where he served with Carrier Task Force 77 and Task Force 95 off the coast of North Korea. The cease fire came on July 27th and they continued patrolling until October when they started homeward bound. That cruise circumnavigated the Globe and they arrived in Philadelphia in December where they spent the next five months in dry dock. Jack attained the rate of Boatswain's Mate Third Class while aboard the Gatling.
He was released from the Navy in September 1955 and went to work for the New York Telephone Company as a lineman for the next four years. In 1958 he married Margaret Sullivan and a year later their first child was born. He was converted to Christ in a small church during this time and he was called by God to the ministry. At 25, he started seminary and was licensed as a Baptist Minister in 1960 and ordained in 1962. During the next 40 years, he pastored four churches one of which was organized in his home. He also served as the State Representative for an Association of churches and on the board of two colleges and a seminary. For 30 of those years, he also had the oversight of Christian Day Schools which were a part of his ministry. Jack retired the full-time pastorate in 2000 and since then he has served as interim pastor for churches without a Shepherd. He has also enjoyed visiting the mission fields and filling in for Missionaries who are home on furlough.
Jack and his wife have five children and 12 grandchildren of assorted age and sex.
We want to congratulate Jack and thank him for accepting the appointment as Chaplain for the National Korean War Veterans Association.
Jack and his daughter Rachel Hubbard took advantage of the opportunity to participate in the Korea Revisit program last year.