Captain Joseph Jacob Foss
Captain Joseph Jacob Foss (World War II)
Joseph Jacob “Joe” Foss was born in a farm house on April 17, 1915, outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota. At the age of 12, he visited a local airfield to see Charles Lindbergh on tour with the Spirit of St. Louis. Four years later he and his father paid to take their first airplane ride. Two years later, in 1933, his father died and young Joe took over running the family farm. Within another two years, dust storms of the Depression had destroyed the crops and the stock.
By 1940 Joe Foss had earned a degree from the University of South Dakota and a pilot’s certificate. He enlisted in the Marine Reserves to join the Naval Aviation Cadet program. Upon completion, Foss was designated a Naval Aviator and commission as a second lieutenant.
By October 1942 he was executive officer of VMF-121 on Guadalcanal. In a short period of time he ”Engaging in almost daily combat with the enemy from 9 October to 19 November 1942, Capt. Foss personally shot down 23 Japanese planes and damaged others.” He would become the first Marine to become an Ace in a Day. A few days later he would have 26 aerial victories equaling Eddie Rickenbacker’s WW I record. In May, 1943, President Roosevelt personally presented him with the Congressional Medal of Honor fo