TCHS Rampage

Temple City High School


November 6, 2017

Local veteran shares his story


A bright, colorful and decorated house on Emperor Avenue with 12 foot inflatables on the roof and lawn may have stopped and mesmerized you.
Little did you know, a veteran from the Vietnam War lives behind that very home.
E-5 Specialist Mr. James Justus was drafted around the age of 20 to Southeast Asia, where he served three years in the military and one year in the war.
“It was my duty to serve,” Mr. Justus said. “You get to see a lot of bad stuff and people die, but that’s part of war. It gives you a prospect of what goes on in the world.”
He specialized in helicopter mechanics, dual engine and dual motor and learned about the electrical system of the Chinook helicopter. Aside from witnessing the horrors of war, he greatly enjoyed his life as a soldier with his team.
“I actually had a lot of fun in military life,” Mr. Justus said. “When it was really hot to work, we took helicopters up and went surfing along the beach, and we had some pretty good times.”
One of the most impactful moments he experienced during his time served was surviving a helicopter crash, where he and his fellow soldiers plunged from 2,000 feet in the air and landed in three feet of mud.
Mr. Justus rescued one of his companions before the helicopter burst into flames, but this tragedy took the life of the other soldier.
“I felt very lucky at the time,” Mr. Justus said. “It was tough to lose somebody, especially when he only had two weeks in the country.”
After serving in the army, he worked in the electrical union for 38 years, married his wife, Ms. Christine Justus, in 1969 and moved to Temple City in Aug. 1973, where they raised two kids. They decided to move to Temple City because it was where Ms. Justus, a TCHS alumnus, grew up.
Aside from elaborately decorating his home on holidays annually, he often goes mountain biking and hiking in the morning with his family in places such as Eaton Canyon, Henninger Flats and Marshall Canyon.
He also goes trout fishing a couple times a year and has even won an award for catching the biggest fish at a fishing derby this year.
He and his wife also plan entertainment for various events, set up the Women’s Club of Temple City’s Christmas party and hosted a costume party for kids at the Jeffrey Foundation last year.
As a Temple City resident, Mr. Justus enjoys participating in local events with his wife as well, such as Concerts in the Park, where they sing and dance together.
“I think Temple City is a nice community,” Mr. Justus said. “We have a lot of things going on here and the community is doing a real good job keeping everyone in the spirit of holidays.”

About the Author

Zoe Hsu
Zoe Hsu is a sophomore and staff writer. She enjoys trying new food and going on thrill rides.



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