Joseph A. Hafter
Master Sergeant
U. S. Army Air Forces
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 01/13/1942 - 11/28/1945
Radio Mechanic, 13th Air Force

He was born in Dallas, Texas, the son of Jennie Fried Hafter and Rudolph Hafter, a haberdasher and native of Warsaw, Poland. Joseph supplemented the family income by selling magazines. He graduated from Forest Avenue High School in Dallas in January of 1937. With no money for college, he worked in a scrap iron yard making nine dollars a week. "I'd give eight bucks to my mother and I'd keep a dollar," he recalls. Keeping abreast of world events, he realized the dangers of Germany under Hitler. "Being of the Jewish faith, I was well aware of it," he says. He tried to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps the day after Pearl Harbor but was turned down because of flat feet. The U.S. Army Air Corps accepted him on January 13, 1942, and sent him to basic training at Shepherd Field in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was later sent to radio school and eventually learned radio mechanics. Placed in the Seventeenth Photo Reconnaissance, he sailed to the Pacific on the Klip Fountain, a French ship. From New Caledonia he was transferred to the Seventieth Fighter Squadron on January 8, 1943 on Guadalcanal, where he worked on radios in P-38s and P-39s. "The jungles, the stench, the mosquitoes," is how Joseph remembers Guadalcanal, where he was stricken five times with malaria. He remained on the island until October of 1943 when his unit was sent to Ondonga and then to Munda, two islands in the New Georgia chain. Then he followed the advancement, New Guinea, the Dutch East Indies., and on to Mindoro and Mindanao in the Philippines. Joseph came home in November of 1945, and was discharged at Fort Sam Houston as a master sergeant. He married Inez Nathan on December 22, 1945. They later adopted two children. Inez died April 1, 1978. On October 25, 1980, he married Helen Monk. Together they have eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. After the war he worked as a cutter and pattern maker for blouses in Dallas. In 1952 he came to Shreveport and joined National Disinfection Company (later National Chem Search Corporation) and was employed as a traveling salesman for forty-five years.