Alumni Corner: Did You Know…

November 26th, 2008

Did you know that John (Jack) Harney , Class President and Valedictorian of the Class of 42, has had a distinguished life in the service of his country since his graduation from Classical. As a Senior at Classical, John was awarded a Competitive National Scholarship to Harvard. Soon after, John had to withdraw from Harvard when he was drafted into the Army during World War II . He was assigned to take part in the Army Specialized Training Program at the University of Nebraska. However, because of the shortage of fighting men overseas, the Army Specialized Training Program was closed and John was assigned to the Army 44th Division as a combat rifleman in France.

While serving in France, John attained the rank of Platoon Sergeant and took part in the capture of German rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun. As World War II in Europe neared its end, John, because of his knowledge of French learned at Classical and German learned at Nebraska U, was reassigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps of the 44th Div. where he worked against German saboteurs and other 5th column agents.

Following the end of the war, John returned to Harvard and graduated in 1946. He then entered Boston University, earning a Masters Degree in German Literature in 1949. John, with his new wife Betty, moved to Washington DC. He became a member of the National Security Agency [NSA] where he used his knowledge and talents as a former combat soldier and an intelligence operative to help protect our country from the threat of the Soviet Union. In the NSA, John worked as a cryptologist and became the Commandant of the NSA’s National Cryptology School. John also served seven years overseas with the Department of Defense retiring in 1980 as an Assistant Director.

John currently lives in Maryland with Betty, his wife of 57 years. He and Betty have three children, five grandchildren and a “gaggle” of step-great grandchildren.

What does John say about the impact that Classical has had on his life and those who attended Classical with him? “I shall be forever grateful to the preparation for life it gave to us.”

John, thank you for your dedication and service to our country.

One Response to “Alumni Corner: Did You Know…”

  1. Lorraine Baldwin Kenchon 23 Feb 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I was a post-graduate student in 1942 and have many friends – in memory a lot of them. My husband Edward Kench graduated in 1942 . I would like to know if and when there will be another un-graduate reunion. I live in Florida and would need to make travel plans. Thanks-

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