Humans of SWFL

Captain John Arens: Dressed to the Nines

Once a week, John Arens heads over to the Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library in Cape Coral, Fla. to catch up with fellow veterans. John has been dining in the Military Museum’s mess hall ever since it opened in February 2009.

“I like this museum for the reason that we all meet here for lunch,” John explained.

Capt. John Arens

The museum serves free lunch to nearly 200 U.S. Veterans on Tuesdays starting at 11:30 a.m. John is pretty easy to spot in the crowd because he is always decked out in his highly decorated military whites.

Over the course of nearly 47 years, John earned rank in several branches including the United States Army, Navy, and Merchant Marines.

“I wear all these decorations you see on here for the reason I’m from different services,” John said. “Captain is one of my rankings. Admiral is next but I never made admiral. I’m lucky I made captain.”

John, who turned 91 on Dec. 28, 2017, said he’s also grateful to be alive.

“I’m loosing all of my buddies who are younger than I am. But I have lived a full life. My wife said I’m going to live until I’m 112. I’m lucky enough if I make it to 100,” he said with a smile.

Captain John’s Hat

Throughout his life, John learned several valuable lessons. He said while he was captain he never gave an order. Instead, John made suggestions. “That’s the way it worked as my life as a captain,” he explained.

The other life lesson, “Always speak the truth because you’ll never have to worry about making a mistake.”

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