John J. Justi left his hometown of New Brighton, Pennsylvania to serve as an infantryman in the US Army during WWII.
Previously as a high school senior working weekends at the Jones & Laughlin steel mill along the Ohio River, John routinely watched newly-built war-bound LSTs float past him heading to Europe. The scene inspired him to wonder if he’d ever get his chance to join the fight. But in due time, like so many other young men of Beaver County, he was drafted into service.
John was sent to Europe, and during the winter of 44-45 his armored infantry unit was in the thick of the Allied final push into Germany, which included heavy bombardment from German 88 artillery during the Battle of the Bulge. But it was the cold that proved most dangerous John and so many men of his unit.
He suffered a severe case of frostbite that removed him from the front and sent him home.
When he got out of the army, John was a seasoned combat veteran who spent 26 months fighting across Europe. He was not yet 21 years old. “The first year I was out,” John admits, “I just bummed around a bit with my friends. But I eventually thought, I should do something with my life.”
This interview was recorded June 5, 2016 at Seven Oaks Country Club in Beaver, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Interviewer: Kevin Farkas. Special Thanks: John Justi, Kathy Kulish, Seven Oaks Country Club. A production of the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative. Executive Producer: Kevin Farkas. Videography: Kevin Farkas, Bryan Chemini. Editor: Kevin Farkas.