Major General John B. Medaris was born in Milford, Ohio on May 12, 1902 and enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 16. After 1 year, he was honorably discharged in order to attend Ohio State University. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the Infantry in August 1921.
From 1928 until 1939, he was in private business while remaining in the Reserves. He reentered active duty in the Army as a captain in the Ordnance Corps in 1939.
From 1948 until 1952, he was Chief of the U.S. Army Mission to Argentina. He worked in the Industrial Division of the Office Chief of Ordnance from 1953 to 1956.
He was the Commanding General, U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Command and from 1958 to 1960 he was the Commanding General, U.S. Army Ordnance Missile Command. He planned and conducted the Ordnance part of the D-Day invasion and the Normandy Campaign. He developed and put into effect “Operation Ready,” an innovative approach to stockpiling.
He spearheaded the successful effort to place this country’s first satellite, the Explorer I, in orbit in January 1958. He retired in 1960 and became the President and CEO of the Lionel Corporation.
He subsequently went into business consulting and then became an Episcopal priest. General Medaris died in Tennessee on July 11, 1990.