On Saturday, January 29, Major General John K. “Jack” Singlaub, B-508, died at his home in Franklin, Tennessee, at age 100. Singlaub was a larger-than-life figure in both the military and in the history of USPA. In 1943, he graduated from the University of California—Los Angeles and, as an Army Reservist, went to jump school. He was soon selected to join the Office of Strategic Services (the precursor to both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Special Forces). During World War II, he parachuted behind enemy lines as part of a three-man team that organized and trained a French Resistance unit that provided assistance to Allied forces during the invasion of Normandy. Following victory in Europe, he was part of a team that parachuted in to Hainan Island to free Allied prisoners held by the Japanese.
Singlaub also served in the Vietnam and Korean Wars. He continued his service until 1977, when he retired as a two-star general. In addition to receiving two Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, two Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, the Soldier’s Medal, two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Star Medals and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, he also received the Air Medal, the Master Parachutist Badge and the Army Aviation Badge. In 2016, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command established the Major General John K. Singlaub/Jedburgh Award to recognize exceptional Army commandos.
During this time, Singlaub became involved in promoting sport skydiving to the military community, and led the effort to allow military personnel to skydive in a civilian capacity, as well as to compete in sport skydiving meets. Singlaub served as head of delegation for the 1965 U.S. Parachute Team that competed at the Adriatic Cup in Europe. From 1965-1975, he served on the board of the Parachute Club of America (USPA’s direct predecessor) as a national director and as chairman of the board, lending his considerable clout and influence to the emerging sport and advocating for it within the halls of power. In 2014, then Executive Director Ed Scott and Executive Director Emeritus Norman Heaton presented Singlaub with the gold card that signifies USPA Lifetime Membership. In 2017, the International Skydiving Museum inducted him into its Hall of Fame.