Joseph A. Malec
1st Lt
U. S. Army Air Corps
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 05/03/1943 - 11/10/1945
B-25 Bombardier

He was born on the south side of Chicago. After high school he was working for a trucking company when he volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps in August of 1941, hoping to fly. Instead, because of his trucking experience, he was placed in the motor pool. Soon after America entered the war Joseph was shipped to Anchorage, Alaska, where he applied for and was granted pilot training. He washed out at pilot training school in Santa Ana, California, but was accepted for bombardier-navigator school in Childress, Texas, where he received his commission, and then went for more navigation training in Carlsbad, New Mexico. At Barksdale Field he trained in the B-26 bomber, and then was sent overseas in December of 1943 he was sent to Foggia, Italy as part of a B-25 crew, in the 448th Bomb Squadron, 321st Bomb Group. His unit was transferred to Gaudo, Italy, near Salerno, from where Joseph flew missions against German positions opposing the Anzio beachhead. Joseph received a Distinguished Flying Cross when he knocked out a communications bridge. He later flew missions in southern France and against German naval targets. "Most of our missions were 100 per cent accuracy," he remarks. "Where previously B-17s and B-24s flew at 30,000 feet, they sent us down there through the hot flak at 7,000 to 10,000 feet." He led 150 B-25s on his sixty-ninth mission on October 1, 1944. Returning to the states, he taught bombardier school in Midland, Texas until the war ended. Joseph ended his service as a first lieutenant in late 1945. He attended Centenary College while working a lathe at Brewster Company, which produced oil field equipment. He later worked for Mid-Continent for thirty years, retiring in 1985.