November 7, 2007: John Bartley

This week's KPLC Billy Navarre Hometown Patriot is a man who witnessed the mushroom cloud of the world's first atomic bomb.

Calcasieu Sheriff's Deputy John Bartley is still going strong at the age of 80. Working as a court bailiff. The retired Citgo employee served in the pacific theatre of World War Two as a machinist on board the carrier Enterprise and the destroyer USS Randall. He witnessed numerous kamakazee attacks late in the war.

"I was below deck you know. But you could hear the bullets. It's an eery feeling because you don't know what's going on up there. Torpedo planes or a sub out there or what. A lot of people say they weren't scared. But i was scared all the time. I was just a young kid."

Bartley and his fellow crew members even witnessed the first atomic bomb drop on japan.

"We laid off when they dropped the bomb, we laid off about 50 to 60 miles out. They issued infrared goggles. We didn't know what was going on until we saw the cloud."

Bartley says he learned a lot from the war and developed great friendships.

"I really grew up. I think of lot of the boys grew up during World War Two. You know 18 to 19 year olds. It made me grow up. You get real close to the people aboard ship. It's hard when you have to part."