“Radioman” Jack McMullen was living the best story he would ever have to tell, the most exciting yarn anyone could imagine broadcasting to their listeners across western Pennsylvania . . . well, sort of. This future DJ was not in Pennsylvania, and not even in the United State, McMullen was in a crash course on wireless transmission skills, under pressure, where he was known as Radioman First Class John McMullen, now four years into a six-year stint with the U.S. Coast Guard. His broadcast studio was on board the USS LCI 324, plowing through the waves off Salerno, Italy. His creative instincts were in abeyance; the horrific sights and constantly changing details of the carnage and confusion around him occupied his airtime, there was no script and coverage was supremely small—other isolated radio receivers bobbed in the water all around him, one to a ship, and his audience consisted of other operators. There were no commercial breaks, no station identification jingles—just harried, frantic messages that spelled immediate life or death to hundreds of Americans, if not Jack himself.
Radioman Jack McMullen: A Colorful Career
The role a radioman played in the Invasion of Sicily during World War II.
By Niles Laughner