Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Joe's History


Joe was the last of seven children born to Italian immigrant parents in the small “slate belt” town of Wind Gap in eastern Pa. He had a great childhood with a loving and caring family of five older brothers and an older sister. He attended Catholic schools at his mother's insistence – she was a saint. His hero was his next youngest brother who graduated from West Point but took a commission in the Air Force and flew B-47s and B-52s. Because he couldn't get an appointment to USAFA, Joe spent the first year after high school at Lafayette College and a second year at the Naval Academy Prep School at Bainbridge Maryland – what an education!

Joe spent his Academy time in 14th Squadron with a truly great bunch of guys. After graduation he went to pilot training at Moody AFB where he met his wife Benita who was a nurse at the base hospital.

After getting his wings and a stint at nuclear school and survival training, Joe's first assignment was to Castle AFB for B-52 training. After his marriage to Benita in '66, they spent the next 3 years at Blytheville AFB flying B-52s and having their first child Michael.

Itching to get into the action, Joe volunteered for Southeast Asia in the F-4. He was assigned to MacDill AFB for replacement training where they added daughter Heather to the family. Following RTU and special weapons school, Joe was assigned to the 433rd “Satan's Angels” TFS in the 8th TFW at Ubon Thailand.

The 433rd was the only Laser Guided Bomb Squadron in theater and Joe was given the privilege and responsibility to run the Paveway program. His squadron team wrote the basic procedures for Laser bombing and was assigned targets needing pinpoint accuracy such as anti-aircraft guns. It was the experience of a lifetime for Joe and he was humbled and grateful for the opportunity to play a small role in the early development of precision laser bombing.

On return to CONUS after Thailand Joe got a Masters Degree at San Diego State University then did a rated supplement tour as the intelligence chief at Homestead AFB where son Adam was added to the family. After attending the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, he was assigned to Seymour Johnson AFB in the F-4.

After his tour as Squadron Commander of the 336th Rocketeers, he attended the Air War College and was given a NATO tour to AFCENT Headquarters in Holland. Returning to the US with his family, he was checked out in the A-10 and was assigned as the Deputy Commander for Operations at Myrtle Beach. Following Myrtle Beach Joe was assigned to Israel as the US Defense and Air Attache for three years where he got to know and see the Arab-Israeli conflict up close.

Returning to the States in 1988, he was given a joint assignment to the State Department as the Military Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East. He remained in this position until his retirement in June of 1994. He subsequently returned to Israel for four years in the late 90s as the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing representative. He is a happily retired house-husband, living with Benita in Alexandria, Va. and dabbling in real estate. It has been a truly amazing ride!


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