Air Force 1965-1973
Joe was born October 20, 1946 and has spent most of his life living in Forest Park. After receiving his draft notice while in college, Joe decided not to take a military deferment after talking with his father who served in WW II receiving three purple Hearts, three Bronze Stars and several combat medals. With 20 cousins who joined the military and did not get drafted, Joe decided to join the family ranks and enlisted in the U.S. Airforce on October 1, 1965. His service spanned the years of 1965-1973 where he served two tours in Viet Nam. Joe chose the U. S. Air Force because of his strong communication and language skills as he hoped to engage in radio communications during combat. His training included learning the Vietnamese language, infantry and para trooper training, and jungle training before deploying to Da Nang at the age of 19 in 1966. His job was to stop infiltration of Viet Cong along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the DMZ. Joe sustained injuries incurred when a rocket bombed his unit’s barracks and received a Purple Heart for bravery for assisting his injured fellow soldiers to flee to safety while he himself was injured. In 1968, Joe returned home for a 30 day leave, then voluntarily returned to Viet Nam after the Tet Offensive, which was one of the largest military campaigns during the war, where he received Army and Air Force Commendation Medals. He left the Air Force with the rank of Staff Sergeant. Following his military service, Joe has contributed much to Forest Park. He has been a village commissioner, a police officer, and has forwarded continual projects for the development of the Forest Park community. Joe continues to hold strong ties to his Air Force Band of Brothers as well as being active in local veteran’s activities.
Our Neighbors, Our Hero Audio Story
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