Skip to main content

John Francis Settar

T/5 in 406th Engineer Combat Co

Military occupational specialty: 189 (rigger)


Born 1923 in NJ, Died 2001

County of residence at enlistment: Camden County, NJ
Other residence(s): Gloucester City, NJ
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: working in a paper mill
Notes: Rank changed from PVT in GA roster to T/5 per Travel Orders, 23d HQ, 29 August 1945 and an article in the Camden NJ Morning Post, 14 July 1945
Source: Special Order 19, 23d HQ, Camp Forrest, 7 April 1944; Bernie Mason Company A, B Roster;; photo from the Camden NJ Courier-Post, 4 January 1944

John Settar was born on August 16, 1923 in Gloucester City, NJ, the sixth of eight children. His father was a laborer in a paper mill, and later worked as an oiler in a powerhouse.

John registered for the draft on June 30, 1942; at the time he was working at Hinde & Dauch Paper Company. He was one of 15 young men from Gloucester City who enlisted in the Army between March 15-22, 1943; all but three of them were 18 or 19 years old. On March 25, they found themselves on a train headed to Camp Gordon, Georgia. There they would join the newly activated 293rd Engineer Combat Battalion, and be assigned to Company A. That spring and summer they trained in Georgia and Tennessee, and that fall boarded a train for Camp Pilot Knob, aka the Desert Training Center, five miles from Yuma, Arizona (just inside the California border). In mid-January 1944, the commander of the 293rd received an order to detach his best company for a secret mission. He selected Company A, and by January 30, 1944 the men were back in Tennessee. On April 7, 1944, Company A of the 293rd was officially reassigned and renamed as the 406th Engineer Combat Company, and the unit boarded a ship to England in early May.

That July, as the men of the 406th headed across England on their way to the war, the train stopped in the city of Gloucester. Here the local NAAFI (the organization that runs recreation, canteens, and PXs for British servicemen) served them tea, which was quaffed amid cheers from the soldiers from Gloucester City, New Jersey.

John (known as “Babe” by his World War II companions) was one of four brothers serving during World War II—his older brother Charles served with a tank destroyer unit, his younger brother Samuel was with an anti-aircraft unit, and his younger brother Owen was in Europe with the Engineers.

After their service in the Ghost Army all 15 men returned to the states. They were feted on July 14, 1945 by the Third Ward Regular Democratic Club while back in Gloucester City on 30-day furloughs. After his discharge, John returned to Gloucester City and married Elizabeth Myers in 1946 They would go on to have four children: John, Jr., Kenneth, Michael, and Elizabeth.

In 1950, John was working as an operator at Hinde & Dauch and he and his family were still living in Gloucester City; John would spend his whole life there. He worked a total of 33 years at the mill before taking a job as a truck driver with the Gloucester City Highway Department where he worked for 12 years.

He was a member of the Townsend C. Young VFW Post.

John died on April 29, 2001 and is buried at Woodbury Memorial Park, W. Deptford Township, NJ.


1930 census

1940 census

1942 draft card

1943 article in the Morning Post (Camden, NJ) about him and 14 other Gloucester veterans of the 406th Engineers—all of them (plus others from the area) were being sent to Fort Dix for training

1944 article in the Courier-Post (Camden NJ) about John and his three brothers all in the service

1945 article in the Morning Post (Camden, NJ) about him and 15 other Gloucester veterans of the 406th Engineers

1946 marriage record

1950 census

1987 US Public Records Index, Gloucester NJ

2001 US Veterans Gravesites

2001 Find a Grave record

2001 obituary in the Courier-Post (Camden NJ),0.7470853,0.99438584,0.9722298&xid=3355&_gl=1*sra5dk*_ga*MjAwMDM4MDQ3LjE2Nzk1MDE1NzU.*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*YTA1NWEyNDgtODc0Yi00ZWUwLWE4ZTktM2U4MDcxMTVlODFkLjM0LjEuMTY3OTg0ODY3My42MC4wLjA.&_ga=2.226046362.1871160285.1679501575-200038047.1679501575

406th Unit History

Please Support Our Ongoing Efforts

The soldiers of The Ghost Army used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and imagination to fool the Germans on the battlefields of Europe. The Ghost Army Legacy Project is ensuring that these men and their accomplishments are never forgotten.

Give via credit card by clicking the yellow “Donate” button.

Or, send a check to:

Ghost Army Legacy Project
1305 S. Michigan Ave. #1104
Chicago, IL 60605

All donations are tax-deductible!