John Flanders Chief Master Sergeant (Ret.) John Flanders, better known as John or Johnnie to his family, and Mr. Flanders to others, devoted 28 years of his life to the military before retiring in 1978. During World War II, Flanders joined the U.S. Merchant Marines when he was 18 years old. The Merchant Marines is a fleet of U.S. civilian-owned merchant vessels that handle commerce or transportation of goods and services. During his career, Flanders was able to travel to many places around the world, including Russia and Japan. After World War II, Flanders decided to enlist in the Air Force and was sent to Texas to be a Military Training Instructor immediately after he joined. His next assignment was to Germany, which launched him into the civil engineer career field. He was involved with many projects as a civil engineer, which took him to France and Vietnam. As Vietnam came to a close, Flanders was given another tour in Germany as a civil engineer, where he seized the opportunity to travel to locations such as Luxemburg, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. Flanders’ last assignment was to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, where he served until retirement.