Joseph H. Rhodes
Specialist 4th Class
U. S. Army
Dates of Service: 01/27/1970 - 01/13/1972
Airframe Repairman , 282nd Assault Helicopter Co

Joe was born in 1950 in Shreveport, LA to George Washington Rhodes and Bessie Alice Scriber Rhodes and was the youngest of seven children. His father came from an agrarian family with seventeen children one of one of which was Louisiana State Senator Reason Waymon Rhodes. After living a short while in Claiborne Parish the family moved back to Shreveport where Joe went to Lakeshore Junior High and then graduated from Fair Park High School. He pursued professional aviation at Louisiana Tech University but joined the Army before graduation. He was sent to Fort Polk for basic training and AIT at Fort Eustis in Virginia where he was trained as a helicopter mechanic. In 1970 he was sent to Vietnam and was assigned to the 282nd Assault Helicopter Company at Marble Mountain, located on the beach at Da Nang. His brother, Tommy, was also in Vietnam at that time and serving with the Marines in VMO-2 squadron. Joe spent most of his time working on UH-1 Huey helicopters, repairing bullet holes, canopies and floor sections. They generally worked from sun up until sun down but sometimes worked all night in order to get a ship ready for the next day. He did have a day off sometimes to go to the South China Sea and would occasionally go to Da Nang. He never saw any USO shows but did see Bob Hope perform in Da Nang. The most challenging repairs were floor damage and repairing damaged tail booms. They had about 30 helicopters in the 282nd and most were gunships. Joe would fly as a door gunner in the gunships whenever the assigned door gunner when a gunner was sick or hurt. They had good medical in the 5th Medical Evac as Joe found out when a mortar hit the hooch next to his. It blew out his eardrum and he suffered some body damage. Two GI's next to him were killed in the attack. While they had rocket attacks, the attacks were actually targeting the flight line and helicopter parking area but would often land in the hooch area. He left Vietnam in August 1971 and was sent to Fort Collins, Colorado then transferred to the National Guard transportation unit in Shreveport and then to the Guard unit in Ruston. Later, he moved back to Shreveport and worked as a general manager for Valta Communications which was a contractor for Verizon, Inc. He married his current wife, Annette in 1976 and they have two daughters, one son and seven grandchildren.