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Class of 1947 - Inducted in 2013
A.J. was inducted into the SHSAA Hall of Fame in 2013.
A.J. Wichita faced danger daily by joining the Merchant Marines after graduation. He served in the Navy during WWII and is an outstanding entrepreneur, and champion of the Mariners. A.J. continued his education after graduation at engineering schools tailored for the maritime industry. He served the US Department of Commerce for 12 years, spent 25 years promoting exports, and served veteran’s organizations for their rights for more than 10 years.
When he was 17, he volunteered for the American Merchant Marines in WWII. For the next eight years he attended several marine engineering schools and passed six different Coast Guard examinations. He passed the examination to obtain a Chief Engineer’s license to operate any size ship of any horsepower. He served in the Navy as the Engineering Officer during the Korean War on a ship and received ten awards for serving in both wars.
When he returned home, jobs were scarce so he experimented with various ideas and settled into providing petroleum products to customers around the world, solving various individual problems they faced. He sold the company recently. The US Secretary of Commerce appointed him to the Texas District Export Council to assist small businesses in exporting products. His company received a “Small Business Exporter of the Year” award and an “International Business Achievement Award” in 1998. He has twice been elected President of the American Merchant Marine Veterans, and was recognized for his efforts toward obtaining GI benefits for Mariners similar to those other Armed Service Veterans received after WWII.
He has written 30 or more articles on the unfair treatment of Mariners who risked their lives and fought the enemy to bring supplies to our troops, yet were denied combat benefits. The articles have been published in two national veteran’s magazine and the TOOTER has reprinted two of them urging interested parties to contact their representatives about this unfair treatment. He said his years at SHS helped him pursue an engineering career in the maritime industry and that experience helped him make a livelihood in lubricants.