John Quincy Roberts was born on September 2, 1915 in Marshall County, Alabama, the son of the late Grover Roberts and former Deany Kelley. Johnny "Red" Roberts graduated from West End High School, Birmingham, in 1934, where he was a football star and made all county and a.11-state football ratings. He won a scholarship to the University of Alabama for his outstanding work at that high school.
He entered the University in the fall of 1934 in the College of Education. He was on the squad of the Crimson Tide in 1935, 1936, 1937, being a member of the team that played in the Rose Bowl that year.
In the summer of 1937 he was named on the National Amateur All-Star team and played in the national meet. He received his B. S. degree in Physical Education on May 30, 1939.
Johnny went into the Navy in 1940, and January 5 he went to the Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Florida. He was again an outstanding man at that school, and won his wings September 24th.
Ensign Roberts lost his life in the Battle of Midway as a naval aviator aboard the USS Enterprise on June 4, 1942. At that time he was listed as missing in action, and was officially declared dead June 5, 1943.
The late Secretary Frank Knox awarded the Navy Cross to Ensign Roberts posthumously for "heroism and courageous devotion to duty." His citation said he "pressed home his fierce attacks in the face of a formidable barrage of anti-aircraft fire and fierce fighter opposition." He was also awarded the Purple Heart and was entitled to wear the American Defense service medal, fleet clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific campaign metal, and the ribbon of the Presidential Citation awarded the USS Enterprise.
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