Joe Edward Bizet
Aviation Chief, Ordnance
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 1942 - 12/19/1945
Aircraft gunner, USS Franklin

"It was dodging and daring," he says of his crop-dusting days as a teenager in Shreveport. Born in Valiant, Oklahoma, Joe was working at a B-24 factory in San Diego when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Enlisting in the Navy, he served aboard the USS Franklin (CV-13) as a gunner on a two-man TBM torpedo plane, averaging three sorties a day. When his pilot was killed he was transferred to the USS Hancock (CV-19) where he served as a spare gunner, but worked mainly on deck in ordnance. He saw action in campaigns throughout the Pacific, where kamikazes hit the Hancock three times, and wounding him with shrapnel. Later Joe observed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. He was discharged December 19, 1945 in New Orleans at the rank of aviation chief, ordnance. After the war he worked as a manufacturing representative for Higgins Industries. For a few years, he says, he felt nervous and was unable to gain weight, and often stayed indoors because of nightmarish memories of his service. "I picked up several pieces of my buddies," he recalls solemnly.