John R. Kulik

As Interviewed by Eli Wall, March 19, 2015
"I just learned just how ruthless leaders of countries can be and you, you kind of learn just by what was going on as to what some of these leaders were doing in the foreign countries, and what they were doing to the people. Having not been exposed to those kind of atrocities, it became a real learning experience for me. "
John R. Kulik

Introductory Profile: About John R. Kulik

John Kulik, my grandfather, is a World War II veteran. He was was in the United States Navy, and he is now 88-years-old.

He was born in Butler, Pennsylvania, a small town outside of Pittsburgh. His whole life, his family was very poor. They could not even afford a car, which is ironic because, at one point, he became a person who repossesses cars. He had many other jobs, but for most of his life he worked in a bank as a loan officer and later as a manager.

John is a tanned older man with a warm smile and silvery hair. His eyes have a mischievous twinkle. He has a good memory, which makes his stories extremely detailed and interesting. He stresses detail in everything he does and he is a careful planner. He leaves nothing to chance.

During the two and a half hour interview, John describes what his life was like before, during, and after the war. He goes into detail about high school, leaving home, boot camp, Navy training classes, being stationed in the Philippines, the jobs he got after the war, and how these experiences affected his life. Since he never fought in battle, when he talks about the atrocities and crimes of war, the interview feels like an outsider looking in with a neutral perspective. The interview was fairly lighthearted; however, at several times it got more serious and dark. I learned so much about my grandfather in this interview and Iím happy to have it recorded so that I can revisit it years later and remember what he was like.