John Deering was born on February 6, 1943, in Nashville, Tennessee. He attended the University of Tennessee for three years and served as operations manager of WMOC in Chattanooga, Tennessee, before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps on March 29, 1966. Pvt Deering completed basic training at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina, in May 1966, followed by Broadcast Specialist School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, from May to October 1966. His first assignment was as a broadcast specialist with Headquarters Company, Headquarters Battalion of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from October 1966 to December 1967, and then with the American Forces Radio-TV Network in Saigon, South Vietnam, from December 1967 to January 1968. CPL Deering then served as program director of the TV station at Hue, South Vietnam, from January 1968 until he was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War on February 3, 1968. After spending 1,858 days in captivity, SSG Deering was released during Operation Homecoming on March 5, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, before receiving a Medical Retirement from the Marine Corps on October 20, 1973. John Deering died on October 8, 2007, and was buried at the Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement while interned as a Prisoner of War (POW) in Southeast Asia from February 1968 to November 1970. During this period, Gunnery Sergeant (then Sergeant) Deering displayed exceptional character and determination in his resistance to overcome the severe mental and physical cruelties imposed upon him by the enemy, who ignored international agreements concerning treatment of POW's. Severely beaten and deprived of the opportunity to sleep for days, he nevertheless refused to allow his captors to subjugate him or those fellow enlisted prisoners who otherwise might have found it more difficult to adhere to the Code of Conduct. By his professionalism, courage, and devotion to duty, Gunnery Sergeant Deering reflected great credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the United States Naval Service.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.