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Captain Joseph T. McKeon

Captain Joseph T. McKeon

Captain Joseph T. McKeonOn 14 September 1916 Joseph Thomas McKeon was born in New York City. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps from Maspeth, Long Island, and received his wings at Maxwell Field, Alabama, Class 41-H, on 31 October 1941. Assigned to the 15th Pursuit Group in Hawaii, he arrived two weeks before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Transferred to the 35th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group in the Southwest Pacific in June 1942, he scored his first victory on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

By the fall of 1943 McKeon was a captain flying P-38s with the 475th Fighter Group's 433rd Squadron. He ran up four victories during September and October, becoming an ace before returning to the States in January 1944.

Following P-38 instructor duty at Santa Maria, California, McKeon began his second overseas tour in June 1944 with the 77th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group at King's Cliffe in England, again flying P-38s. The 20th converted to P-51s in late July and it was in a Mustang that McKeon scored his sixth and last victory on 16 August.

Flying his 40th mission from England, McKeon was captured by the Germans after bailing out following a mid-air collision over Galinow on 7 October. He remained in German captivity until mid May 1945.

After the war, McKeon served in Strategic Air Command fighters from 1947 to 1954, then spent three years in France with the military assistance group. His final assignment was with the Air Defense Command from 1958 to October 1963 when he retired as a lieutenant colonel.

In civilian life, McKeon became a distinguished linguist. Gaining a Ph.D. at Georgetown University he studied at the Sarbonne in Paris, the University of Grenoble in Switzerland and eventually in Italy.

Tally Record:
6 Confirmed
2 Damaged 

Decorations:
Silver Star
Distinguished Service Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart
Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters 

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