Friday, January 20, 2017

WW2 Fallen - A-20 gunner Joseph Joyce Jr.

The Joker painted by Jack Fellows.
Joseph Joyce was killed on a similar mission in an A-20 Havoc one week before the events depicted in this painting.

Joseph H. Joyce, Jr. could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on January 20, 1917 in Pennsylvania to parents who were also Pennsylvania born. According to census records he had two younger brothers and two younger sisters. His father worked with pipe products as a machinist.

By 1940 was a high school graduate working as a messenger. He was still living with his parents in Pennsylvania. When he enlisted two years later on January 26, 1942, he signed up for the Army Air Corp.

Fliers from 312th Bomber Group who would have known Sgt Joyce, photo probably taken July 1945

Joseph became a Staff Sergeant with the 386th Bomb Squadron, 312th Bomb Group, 5th AAC which was active in the Philippines at the time Sgt. Joyce died. Sgt Joyce flew on Douglas A20 Havocs, a two engine light bomber with a crew of three. He was the gunner on his plane. On January 7, 1945 A20's attacked Clark Airfield, then under Japanese control, in a mission with 120 planes. Clark Field was defended by 400 anti-aircraft guns. The planes flew in low, dropping bombs slowed by parachutes (parafrags) to slow down the bombs and give time for the plane to fly away. Sgt. Joyce was on one of the 11 planes lost on that mission.

His remains were returned to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Thank you Joseph for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Joseph.

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