Kearns, Joseph Thomas, Jr., Lt Col

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
1521Z-Bombardier
Last AFSC Group
Aircrew
Primary Unit
1966-1967, 1521Z, 13th Bombardment Squadron, Light
Service Years
1958 - 1967
Lieutenant Colonel

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
1936
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SMSgt R. Hensel (Bob / Ole Buck) to remember Kearns, Joseph Thomas, Jr. (Joe), Lt Col.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Sea Girt, NJ
Last Address
Phan Rang AB

Casualty Date
Jun 03, 1967
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Vietnam, North (Vietnam)
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Panel 21E Line 047

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  1967, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar


Navigator Observer (Master)


 
 Unit Assignments
3567th Navigator Training Squadron49th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron13th Bombardment Squadron, Light
  1958-1959, 1531A, 3567th Navigator Training Squadron
  1959-1960, 1561, 3567th Navigator Training Squadron
  1960-1966, 1564, 49th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
  1966-1967, 1521Z, 13th Bombardment Squadron, Light
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1961-1973 Vietnam War
 Colleges Attended 
Syracuse University
  1960-1963, Syracuse University
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-57 Canberra  
  1967-1967, B-57 Canberra1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
   
   On June 3, 1967, Major Theodore Springston Jr.. pilot, and then Capt. Joseph T. Kearns, navigator, comprised the crew of a B-57B, call sign "Tanner", on a solo armed road reconnaissance mission.  Their flight path was from Phan Rang Airbase to the target area and back to Phan Rang.  The intended target was any target of opportunity in Route Package 1, the southern most section of North Vietnam.
  
   Tanner flight rondezvoused at a prearranged location with Alleycat flight, the on site airborne control aircraft.  At 1945 hours, Alleycat cleared Tanner flight into North Vietnamese airspace to begin their mission.  The last contact and known position placed Major Springston and Capt. Kearns in the area of Ron Ferry located approximately 2 miles inland from the coastline, 3 miles south west of Vinh Son and 32 miles north-northeast of the major North Vietnamese port city of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam.

   When Joseph Kearns and Theadore Springston failed to make further contact with the airborne controller, an electronic  and visual search was initiated.  No emergency beeper signals  were heard and no parachutes or wreakage was found.  Because the loss was deep within enemy held and heavily populated terrority, no formal search and rescue (SAR) operation was possible.
  
   Both Joe Kearns and Ted Springston were immediately listed as MISSING IN ACTION.


   
Comments/Citation

                   
Joe Kearns Diary
                         December 29,1966

   Perhaps now I've been here long enough to be able to discribe Phan Rang and my reactions to it.  
   We have no sewage, and have to use out-houses.  We wash and shave outdoors, with cold water in a dish pan.  Our shower is a large, public, plywood affair, equipped with warm water about half the time.  We live seven and eight to a room, in one-room cabins called "hootches".  The flight line is several miles from our quarters and we make the trip on back of a pick-up truck.  Our operations building is an undersized quonset hut powered by a kerosene generator which roars all the time, even louder than the MD-3 power carts which use to shatter my nerves at Griffis.  Most of the roads on base are unpaved and bumpy.  The dust blows so thick in the air that we chew it, breath it, comb it out of our hair, and blow it out of our noses.  In short, I love it!

   Thats right, I think this place is great!  I don't know why, but I enjoy it here.  Maybe its because we have a job to do and we're doing it.  Perhaps its because shaving with cold water and chewing dust are not really so bad as I expected.  Maybe the reason is that life is rather simple here, without the traffic jams, petty regulations, requirements, obligations,and other ulcer makers of our complex civilized life.  Now I'm not implying that this is how I would spend my whole life!  The point is that it's really not that bad here, and its good to get away from the neuroses of civilazation for awhile. 
 
                 
Made available by:
                    Mary Jo Kearns 
                          (sister)

                  POW Network and
                          NJVVMF


US Air Force LTC Joseph Thomas Kearns, Vietnam Veteran, Native of Sea Girt. New Jersey.

US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Thomas Kearns Jr, was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Air Force Reserve, LTC Kearns served our country until June 7th, 1978 in North Vietnam. He was 41 years old and was not married. Joseph died when his plane crashed. His body was not recovered. Joseph was born on August 26th, 1936 in Sea Girt, New Jersey. LTC Kearns is on panel 21E, line 047 of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.

LTC Kearns aircraft was the B57 Canberra, which was a light tactical bomber that played a varied role in the Vietnam conflict. A veteran of operations Rolling Thunder and Steel Tiger, B57's from the 8th Tactical Bombing Squadron at Phan Rang, South Vietnam had also been equipped with infrared sensors for night strike operations in Tropic Moon II and III in the spring of 1967. He was assigned to the 13th Bomb Squadron, Phan Rang Airbase, South Vietnam.

On 3 June 1967, Major Theodore Springston, Jr., pilot; and then Capt. Joseph T. Kearns, navigator, comprised the crew of a B57B, call sign Tanner," on a solo armed road reconnaissance mission. Their flight path was from Phan Rang Airbase to the target area and back to Phan Rang. The intended target was any target of opportunity in Route Package 1, the southernmost section of North Vietnam.

Tanner flight rendezvoused at a prearranged location with Alleycat flight, the on-site airborne control aircraft. At 1945 hours, Alleycat cleared Tanner flight into North Vietnam airspace to begin their mission. The last contact and known position placed Major Springston and Capt. Kearns in the area of the Ron Ferry located approximately 2 miles inland from the coastline, 3 miles southwest of Vinh Son and 32 miles north-northeast of the major North Vietnamese port city of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam.

When Theodore Springston and Joseph Kearns failed to make further contact with the airborne controller, an electronic and visual search was initiated. No emergency beeper signals were heard, and no parachutes or wreckage was found. Because the loss was deep within enemy-held and heavily populated territory, no formal search and rescue (SAR) operation was possible. Both Theodore Springston and Joseph Kearns were immediately listed Missing in Action.
Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

Fighter pilots were called upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served. NOTE: The remains of Joseph Kearns, Jr. were repatriated in August 1988.

I promise 100%. Joe, I've adopted your FALLEN profile on www.togetherweserved.com (Air Force)and promise to complete your profile with the pride and passion you would have shown if doing it yourself. Bob Hensel, Retired Air Force crew chief, 812 Harding Highway, Buena NJ 08310-1534, yobuck10@verizon.net.

He served with the 13th Bomber Squadron, 35th Tactical Fighter Wing, 7th Air Force.

He was awarded The Bronze Star Medal, The Purple Heart Medal for his combat related wounds, The Vietnam Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, The Air Force Achievement Medal and The Air Force Commendation Medal.

 
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Burial: [Edit]
Honolulu Memorial
Honolulu
Honolulu County
Hawaii, USA
Plot: *Cenotaph, Courts of the Missing

   
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