Lieutenant John Douglas (Ducky) Pickett, USN, entered onto eternal patrol on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
John was born on August 4, 1930 in Oak Park, IL. He was the son of the late John Alphonso and Blanche Isabelle (Robinson) Pickett. He was raised in Oak Park where his father served as an Oak Park police officer until WWII. During WWII, while his father was serving in the U.S. Army as a first Sergeant with the U.S. Army Combat Engineers in North Africa, his mother passed away. He lived with his Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Russ in Evansville, IN until his father returned from North Africa.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November 1947. Like his father, he reported to USNTC, Great Lakes, IL for recruit training. Upon graduation from boot camp, he reported to Submarine School, New London, CT and graduated with honors. He then reported for duty aboard the USS Chopper (SS-342), as an Engineman (EN) Striker and completed training as well as qualification on submarines. He was transferred to New London, CT for school in advanced diesel engineering. Upon graduation, he then served on USS Razorback (SS-394), USS Perch (ASSP-313). He then rotated to shore duty and reported to the Naval Recruiting Training Command, Ninth Naval District, Chicago, IL, and was assigned to the Oak Park recruiting station. While on recruiting duty in Oak Park, he met and married Catherine Smith (from Glasgow, Scotland) on December 10, 1955. While on recruiting duty, John and Kay welcomed aboard son, James Douglas, in 1956, and twin sons, John Alphonso and William Francis, in 1957, all born at USNTC Great Lakes Naval Hospital.
He attended Advanced Nuclear Power Training school in New London, CT. He spent a year in West Milton, Schenectady, NY at the S3G Submarine Water Cooled Reactor prototype. They welcomed aboard daughter Catherine Blanche in 1958. Upon completion of Advanced Nuclear Power Training school he transferred to the Bettis Nuclear Reactor in Pittsburgh, PA for further instruction in Reactor Plant Operations. Upon completion, he received orders to report to Pascagoula, MS for the new construction and commissioning of the nuclear powered submarine, USS Sculpin (SSN-590). During their two years in Pascagoula, their twin daughters, Mary Josephine and Dorothy Lucille, were born at Keesler Air Force Base Hospital in Biloxi, MS in 1959.
After commissioning, he was transferred with the USS Sculpin (SSN-590) to Ballast Point Naval Submarine Station in San Diego, CA. At this time, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy. During their seven years in San Diego, they welcomed aboard daughter, Margaret Pearl at Balboa Naval Hospital in 1961. After completing his tour of duty on the USS Sculpin (SSN-590), he was transferred to a submarine tender, the USS Sperry (AS-12) were he was promoted to Lieutenant JG. After tour of duty, he transferred to an aircraft carrier, the USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), during which he did his first tour in Vietnam and was promoted to Lieutenant. After this first tour, he then volunteered for a second tour of duty with the Naval Advisory Group in Vietnam. He served as a Naval Advisor to the Vietnamese Navy and oversaw Riverine Warfare tactics and led missions on River Patrol Boats (PBR) while in Vietnam. When he returned from Vietnam in 1968, he joined the US Ballistic Submarine Fleet, submarine squadron 14, USS Simon Lake (AS-33) in Holy Loch, Scotland. They welcomed aboard their third set of twins, Kelly Diane (Sam) and E. Marie (Mike) in Greenoch, Scotland.
At the end of his tour in Scotland, he volunteered for a third tour of duty in Vietnam with the Naval Advisory Group serving once again as a Naval Advisor for the Riverine Warfare tactics, leading missions on PBRs and overseeing the Vietnamization of the Vietnamese Naval Riverine Forces. While he was serving his last tour of duty in Vietnam, his wife and family transferred to Schilling Air Force Base (home of the waiting wives) in Salina, KS.
When he completed this two-year tour of duty in 1972, he received orders to report to Superintendent Shipbuilding, Ninth Naval District, Navy Office, Sturgeon Bay, WI as Quality Assurance Officer/Superintendent. After his tour at the Navy Office, he retired in June of 1975. From that point on, he worked as an independent contractor for a consulting group that eventually became Mono Pump Group until his retirement in 1998. He then lived to spoil his dear grandchildren.
He was a member of the Door County Rod and Gun Club. He had life memberships to the following: Savannah River VFW Post 5877, Aiken, SC, Submarine Veterans, USSVI, Purple Heart Association and Military Officers' Association. He was an endowment member of the NRA and loved shooting and reloading ammunition. He also loved history, politics, classic movies and classic music.
John and Catherine were proud to see their son James “JD” sworn into the Navy by John. JD completed recruit training at USNTC, Great Lakes, IL and became a Nuclear Submarine sailor like his father.
Survivors include his daughters, Mary (Dan) Pickett-Fulwiler of Algoma, Dorothy (Ron) Pickett-Walker of Keller, TX, Margaret Pickett of Green Bay, Sam (Steve) Pickett of Sturgeon Bay, Mike (Sergio) Pickett-Arellano of Collierville, TN; one son, James Douglas “JD” (Denise) Pickett of Aiken, SC; 11 grandchildren Colleen Clarke, Renee Zimmerman, Caitlin Burns, Danielle Fulwiler, John Michael Arellano, graduated recruit training at USNTC, Great Lakes, IL and recently completed Submarine School like his grandfather and uncle JD, David and Willy Arellano, Scarlett, Violet, Lily and Smith Suhrer; five great- grandchildren, Alyssa Lopez, Sawyer and Atlas Clarke, Macie and Katie Zimmerman; : one brother, William (Nancy) Pickett of San Diego, CA; sister, Lucille Sullivan of Waterloo, IA.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Catherine (2008); one daughter, Cathy Pickett-Burns; grandson, Brian Geurts, twin infant sons, William Francis and John Alphonso Pickett.
Friends may call from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Good Friday (March 29, 2013) at Huehns Funeral Home. A parish vigil with military honors will be held Good Friday at Huehns Funeral Home.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at Corpus Christi Catholic Church with Fr. Carl Schmitt. He will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
Sign online register book and offer condolences at www.huehnsfuneralhome.com.