World War II veteran remembered for his photos, service to our country

John W. Loughlin, who went by Jack, was part of the Greatest Generation. (Source: Joe and Barbara Hancammon)
John W. Loughlin, who went by Jack, was part of the Greatest Generation. (Source: Joe and Barbara Hancammon)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - John W. Loughlin, 96, was part of the Greatest Generation.

The World War II veteran from Wilmington died Monday, Aug. 14, according to his family.

Family members emailed the WECT newsroom with details about Loughlin's life and service to our country.

Loughlin graduated from New Hanover High School in 1942; he was classmates with NBC newsman David Brinkley.

"Jack trained as a C-46 Cargo Pilot and served in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, carrying assorted freight and personnel over the Himalayan Mountains.  The route he traveled was known as "The Hump".  Mostly he carried 55 gallon drums of aviation gas, but his most unusual cargo was an entire planeload of "Oh Henry" candy bars to the troops in China." - Joe and Barbara Hancammon

After the war, Loughlin stayed in the Air Force Reserves, retiring in 1981. His wife of 69 years said he always had pride for his service.

"It meant everything. He was so proud to go and do what he did," Marjorie Loughlin said. "It was really his life outside of our marriage. He really did love the service."

She said she plans to keep all of John's service memorabilia on display in their home.

"It's been hanging up here since we've been living in this house and that's where it's going to stay. I'll dust it. I'll dust it and love it," she said.

The lieutenant colonel's nephew said he admires his uncle's service, and is proud to honor him and other veterans.

"These guys, they did what they thought they had to do and I can't really put it any other way, but they felt like it was their duty to do it and they did it," Joe Hancammon said. "They certainly didn't have to do it, but they felt like they had to."

Joe went into business with his brother-in-law, William H. Hancammon, opening Carolina Camera on Market Street.

Loughlin also worked as a photographer for the Star News in the 1940s.

He and Hancammon took photos which were printed up as postcards. Some can be seen on display in the postcard collection at the New Hanover County Library.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18 at Andrews Mortuary Valley Chapel on 4108 South College Road. More information about his funeral can be found here.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, the US Department of Veterans Affairs estimates only around 558,000 are alive in 2017.

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