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Lieutenant, Junior Grade John Franklin Kincaid

  • Unit: 6th Beach Battalion
  • Service Number: 140233
  • Date of Birth: May 19, 1917
  • Entered the Military: November 30, 1942
  • Date of Death: April 12, 1945
  • Hometown: Leesburg, Virginia
  • Place of Death: Pacific Ocean
  • Award(s): Purple Heart
  • Cemetery: Courts of the Missing. Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawai'i and Union Cemetery, Leesburg, Virginia (Plot D, Lot 1092)
Contributed by Charlotte Walker
Mentored by Mrs. Katherine Corrado
Woodgrove High School

Early Life

On May 9, 1917, John Franklin Kincaid, Jr. was born in Loudoun County, Virginia. His parents were John Franklin Kincaid, Sr. born June 15, 1894 and Nancy Melinda Anderson, born August 4, 1894. The 1920 census records revealed that Kincard, Sr. worked as a farmer while his wife was a homemaker. His parents wed on June 28, 1916. Just five years later, on May 7, 1922, Nancy gave birth to another son, Joseph Anderson Kincaid.

In 1934, Franklin, Jr. graduated Leesburg High School and then from Hampden-Sydney College in 1938. Local yearbooks revealed the family’s active role in their community, such as their mother’s involvement in the Leesburg High School 1940 Parent and Teacher Association (PTA), and Kincaid’s father’s advertisements of his real estate business in the Leesburg High School 1940 yearbook. In 1942, Franklin Jr. graduated from Duke Medical School in Durham, North Carolina. He went on to complete an impressive round of education in the medical field, along with an internship at the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Kincaid entered the service and headed overseas in 1943. Following his involvement as a medic on Omaha Beach during the D-Day Invasion in August 1944, he returned home on a furlough. Upon his return to the U.S., he married Esther “Betsy” Rogers on December 2, 1944 at the First Presbyterian Church in San Diego, California. Esther attended Westhampton University and American University; she also volunteered for the Red Cross. They lived together in San Diego for a short time before Kincaid returned to active duty.


On January 27, 1944, a local newspaper published a special edition of all the soldiers from Loudoun County. It was amazing to see just how many men served in the armed forces, just from one small part of the world. Interestingly, the article also commemorated men of color and women in the service, which is usually rare in a smaller county such as Loudoun.

Among the faces of the soldiers, there were many advertisements that gave a peek into life in wartime. The general message of most of the ads was clear – “buy war bonds!” The advertisements used political figures and patriotic symbols to to push their message for the war effort. Propaganda was a huge part of supporting the war effort at home. Americans felt the pressure to show their patriotism by buying war bonds, planting victory gardens, and doing whatever else they possible could to support the troops.

Rationing for the war began in spring 1942, limiting all consumer goods except for eggs and dairy. Due to a high demand for sugar during the war, the U.S. began rationing sugar in 1943. Sugar rationing continued until 1947. World War II ration books revealed that Americans often learned to live without certain foods and products that they had previously used in their daily lives. In a ration book designated to Daisy Pleasant McIntosh, the punishments for not following ration codes were laid out; one could be imprisoned for up to ten years, or face a $10,000 fine. This shows the true importance and severity of rationing that the Americans faced in World War II.

There was also a German prisoner of war camp was located very close to Kincaid’s hometown off Harmony Church Road in Purcellville, Virginia. There were approximately 180 prisoners of war in this particular camp. The Germans did not know much about farming, so many Loudoun County farmers had to meet to discuss how they could use the prisoners of war. Newspapers showed that the prisoners were released about five months after the war in Europe had ended because America was still frantically trying to send over food and supplies for the brutal war in the Pacific Theatre.

Military Experience

John F. Kincaid originally accepted his appointment into the U.S. Navy on March 27, 1942. Soon after, he accepted an appointment as Assistant Surgeon, promoting him to the rank of lieutenant on October 5, 1942.

He was roughly 5’8 and weighed 170 pounds, had brown hair and eyes, and was described as possessing a “ruddy” complexion and a muscular build. Like many other young Virginian men at the time, he was a Protestant, had many “usual” childhood illnesses, like scarlet fever, and had several missing teeth. He had injuries such as scars on his knee, forehead, left hand, and back. Interestingly, in all of the beneficiaries, his mom is always listed first, followed by his younger brother. His experiences in actual military training were more versed.

As a U.S. Navy doctor, he was also trained in practical combat, and the conditions and supplies that he had available for healing were very limited. Amputations were done with just a pair of scissors, and morphine was kept in toothpaste shaped containers with a needle on the end. Navy doctors often had to be prepared for the worst, often going on to active battle grounds to treat the wounded.

Kincaid persevered with his duty, serving on the USS Zellars for the war effort in the Pacific. On April 12, 1945, The USS Zellars was attacked by a kamikaze pilot. Lieutenant John Kincaid did not survive. His memory as a brave soldier remains out at sea, where he spent his last moments at only 27 years old. 


On May 25, 1945 Nancy Kincaid wrote of her late son, “No doubt John did more during his short life than many of us in double the years.” In gratitude of his duty, it is now our duty to retell the inspirational legacy of Lieutenant John Franklin Kincaid Jr., leading us in an example of sacrifice and excellence.

Lieutenant John Franklin Kincaid’s rural roots began on May 9th, 1917 as he resided on a small farm with his mother Nancy Melinda Anderson, father John Kincaid Sr., and little brother, Joseph Kincaid. A child of the Great Depression, Lt. John Franklin Kincaid played football at Leesburg High School in a graduating class of 1934. Just as his humble, ordinary life emerged, it shifted to a less conventional direction.

Kincaid continued his career at Hampden Sydney College, followed by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina to study medicine, culminating in an internship at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. From farm boy to doctor, the portrait of local hero Lieutenant John Franklin Kincaid solidified when he entered the service.

The trials of war were amorously intercepted during a granted leave in August of 1944. Although the details of how Lieutenant John Franklin Kincaid met Esther Rogers are unknown, their love was celebrated on their wedding day.

We stand here today, free and proud Americans, indebted to the service of heroes like Lieutenant John Franklin Kincaid. His story pulled at my heart and challenged my mind, made me laugh and cry. I’m so thankful to be able to carry on the memory of an inspiring hero like Lieutenant John Franklin Kincaid, Jr.


The Sacrifice for Freedom® in the Pacific: Student and Teacher Institute was a truly extraordinary opportunity. As a student, I have always loved history so much because it shows how the past has shaped our present world and tells what the future might hold. Through the process of searching through local soldiers, it was eye opening to see how many were not even on local file. Once I had narrowed down between two soldiers, Lieutenant John Kincaid seemed to be pulling at me to tell his story. He had a harrowing tale of heartbreak as he survived through the D-Day Invasion to come home and get married, but ultimately passed away at sea, with the alleged happiest times of his life still ahead of him. Hearing his story used to make me feel anger for the war and unrest, wondering why a young boy with so much life had to die. Through this program, I now understand this sacrifice. I know that without sacrifice, I wouldn’t be allowed to live freely as an American, and for that, I am eternally grateful.


Primary Sources

Davey, K. C. “Sailors Dressed Like Soldiers.” U.S. 6th Naval Beach Battalion. Updated 1999. Accessed September 30, 2019.

“Casualty Letters.” U.S. 6th Naval Beach Battalion. Updated 2011. Accessed September 30, 2019.

Record of the Hampden-Sydney Alumni Association. July 1945. Accessed September 30, 2019.

“Esther Rogers Cowart Obituary.” Colonial Funeral Home of Leesburg. Updated September 30, 2013. Accessed September 30,

“Lt John F Kincaid (1917-1945).” Accessed September 30, 2019.

Virginia. Loudoun County. 1890 U.S. Census. Digital Images.

Virginia. Loudoun County. 1920 U.S. Census. Digital Images.

Virginia. Loudoun County. 1930 U.S. Census. Digital Images.

Virginia. Loudoun County. 1940 U.S. Census. Digital Images.

Lt. John Franklin Kincaid Jr., Individual Deceased Personnel File, Department of the Army.

“Lt. J. F. Kincaid Leesburg Doctor Killed in Pacific.” The Blue Ridge Herald, April 26, 1945.

“Miss Esther Rogers Bride Dr. J. F. Kincaid.” The Blue Ridge Herald, December 7, 1944.

“John Kincaid Dies in Action In Pacific.” Loudoun Times Mirror, April 25, 1945.

Leesburg High School. The Target, 1939.

Leesburg High School. The Target, 1940.

The Senior Class of Leesburg High school. The Target. Leesburg, VA, 1939.

Virginia. Loudoun County. 1890 U.S. Census. Digital Images.

Virginia. Loudoun County. 1920 U.S. Census. Digital Images.

Virginia. Loudoun County. 1930 U.S. Census. Digital Images.

Virginia. Loudoun County. 1940 U.S. Census. Digital Images.

Secondary Sources

Navy Medicine at Normandy – WW2. Naval School of Health Sciences / Medical Production Department. Athens Video, 2013. Accessed September 30, 2019.

Barnes, A. H. In the Service of our Country Uss Zellars Dd 777 The Ship and Her men. Martinsville: Fideli Publishing, Inc., 1998.