FOR THE HEART HE GAVE" (A song for John
"Jack" Vincent Power)
Written and performed by Doug Kwartler. Featuring
the St. Anne Church Choir,
From the USS
Power DD-839 Web site:
landing on Namur, his company encountered the
heaviest resistance of the entire Marshall Islands
invasion. They had been ashore only a couple of
hours, when a burst of enemy gunfire struck Power
in his abdomen as he placed an explosive charge
in a Japanese pillbox. His men got him to the
shelter of a nearby shell hole and applied an
emergency dressing to the injury. Power refused
to be evacuated back to the aid station on the
beach. On his orders, his men reluctantly left
him in the shell hole and returned to battle.
his men advanced, the battle grew more intense.
To their surprise, they spotted Power crawling
toward them, clutching his bleeding midsection
with one hand while firing his carbine as rapidly
as he could with the other. Power headed straight
for another Japanese pillbox, toward an opening
torn in its side by his men. They helplessly watched
as Power struggled to within a few feet of the
opening. Then his ammunition gave out. Power tried
to insert a fresh clip of bullets into his carbine.
The Japanese still alive in the pillbox opened
fire on him at point-blank range, as his beloved
comrades watched in horror. Their fusillade of
bullets struck him in the head and body, killing
Powers family joined President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt at the White House on Aug. 30,
1944, to receive their sons posthumous Medal
of Honor. That medal, along with Joseph OCallahans,
resides in the Archives of the College of the
Holy Cross in Worcester."
To visit the USS Power Website, click
For more on John Power at Wikipedia, click
How I Got Involved:
February 10th of this year I received an email
from my friend Nick Noble, a DJ on WICN 90.5 FM
(Folk Revival) asking me if I were up to what
he called "a musical challenge." Nick
mentioned that outside the Worcester, MA City
Hall was a statue of Worcester Native John (Jack)
Vincent Power, a U.S. marine killed in action
during WWII who received the Congressional Medal
of Honor. A Navy Ship, the USS Power, was named
in his honor. Nick wrote that USS Power Association,
which holds an annual reunion in Worcester, was
interested in telling their namesake's story in
song. Nick was also going to do a show on John
Power and the organization sometime this summer.
Nick provided me with web links to stories about
Jack and asked if I'd write something. Turns out
I wrote two songs about Jack that night. But we'll
leave leave the other song for a later time.
for the Heart He Gave" was the first song
I started. After I finished recording it, I thought
it needed an extra "something." That
something turned out to be the St. Anne's Church
Choir, from Worcester, MA. The song needed a choir
on the last chorus and I wanted to get one that
was from Jack's hometown. After a few conversations
with the choir's musical director, Mike Palumbo,
we arranged a recording session at the church.
The choir members in that session were: Paula
Petrone, Kathy Tracy, Estelle Richard, Joe and
Jan Zecco, Peggy Olson, Jane May, Bruce Card,
Mike Quinn, Victor Kruczynski, Rosemary Morana,
Joan White, Sharlene Abraham, and Mike Palumbo.
A huge thanks go out to all of them. Their contributions
take the song to a higher place.
The imagery in the song is not only taken from
Jack's story on the battlefield, but also from
the many other stories I've read about him. Some
of the description of Jack are direct quotes from
friends, relatives or fellow soldiers.
Writing this song, finding out about this courageous
soldier and meeting the St. Anne choir were all
very satisfying experiences for me. Thanks go
out to my friend Nick Noble for asking me to be
a part of it!