John M Christman
PVT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co B
Born 1921 in OH
County of residence at enlistment: Summit County, OH
United States Army, did not accompany the unit to Europe
Occupation before the war: engineers, industrial
College education before the war: 2 years
Jack Christman was born on February 3, 1925 in Bethlehem, PA, the youngest of five children. He attended several high schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey; he did not graduate but completed his GED.
He registered for the draft on February 4, 1943, the day after his 18th birthday. At the time he was living in South Seaville, NJ. He enlisted the following month, on March 22, 1943, and was assigned to the 406th Engineer Combat Company, serving as a demolition specialist with the unit in Europe.
He was discharged from the Army on November 4, 1945 and returned to South Seaville, where he married and went to work for JP Collins Lumber Mill.
He and his first wife divorced, but he stayed at Collins for nearly 20 years, having been promoted to foreman by the time he left in 1965 to pursue a career in the New Jersey Department of Corrections in Leesburg, NJ.
In 1971 he was appointed a pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor by the NRA. This qualified him to join the ranks of selected volunteer instructors in basic marksmanship and safe gun handling.
In 1973 he married Elsie Ramsey; they lived in Port Elizabeth, NJ until her death in 1996. Jack retired from the Department of Corrections in 1986 with the rank of SGT.
After Elsie's death, Jack met his present wife Janet Lee at the Mauricetown Methodist Church; they married in 1997 and settled in Leesburg, NJ.
Jack had no children of his own, but with two step-daughters and a step-son he is the grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather to many. He is still alive as of this writing (January 2022) and his hobbies have included photography, hunting, fishing, woodworking, and baking.
He is locally famous for his delicious homemade bread and rolls; in November, 1982 he was one of the top prizewinners at the Cumberland County Holiday Bake-Off with his white bread. A newspaper article at the time reported: "Christman, who bakes all the bread for his family, makes four loaves at a time to save himself some work. And they freeze well, he said. Christman became interested in breadmaking after a friend brought over a loaf of his own homemade bread [in 1977]. 'I can do that,' he said."
At the age of 96 he still bakes bread for himself and Janet as well as for family holiday and birthday celebrations.
On December 14, 2021 he was the guest speaker at the Millville (NJ) Army Air Field Museum's quarterly movie night at which The Ghost Army film was shown.
1943 draft card
1943 article in the Courier-Post (Camden NJ) re his induction into the Army
1971 article in the Millville Daily (NJ) about his becoming an NRA weapons instructor
1973 marriage record
1982 article in the Millville Daily (NJ) re his bread making
2021 Facebook entry; speaking at event in NJ
2021 (December 18) GALP Veteran Biography Worksheet from granddaughter-in-law Sharon Dilks