Inside the Story: World War II veteran knows too well the cost of freedom

Inside the Story: World War II veteran knows too well the cost of freedom (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Every day like clockwork, you can find John Delliskave, or "Pops," in his workshop.

At 93 years old, he still has some woodworking amazing skills, which he uses to build a variety of items.

"I make a lot of puzzles," he said.

But one of his most prized possessions is in his front yard: an American flag.

"I love that flag. You can see I fly it every day," said Delliskave.

The flag represents freedom to Delliskave, who knows all too well the cost of it.

He fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima--one of thousands of U.S. Marines who stormed the beaches in February on 1945 during World War II.

In the end, more than 1,100 Marines were killed in Delliskave's division.

"The casualties were really bad," he said.

He was one of only eight in his platoon who survived the battle.

"I knew that I might die," he said. "But yet, we were there for a cause."

Delliskave had a few close calls during the war, like the time a bullet practically scraped the side of his face.

"Like a sonic boom I could feel it go by me," he described.

Delliskave left for the service at the young age of 20, leaving behind a pregnant wife and two small children.

And his service has not gone unnoticed.

He was honored during a Utah Jazz game and he also recently traveled to Washington, D.C. with 50 other veterans as part of Utah's Honor Flight.

But he doesn't see himself as a hero.

"I was glad I was able to serve," he said. "I don't know how much good I did."

Delliskave has six children, 19 grandchildren, and 58 great-grandchildren.