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 Joseph Jacob Foss

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Joseph Jacob Foss Famous memorial

Birth
East Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, South Dakota, USA
Death
1 Jan 2003 (aged 87)
Scottsdale, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Burial
Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot
Section 7A, Grave 162
Memorial ID
7048825 View Source

World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, World War II Fighter Ace, 20th South Dakota Governor, Professional Football League Executive. Born in on a farm near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he desired at a young age to be a United States Marine Corps pilot, and took flight lessons while attending the University of South Dakota, from which he graduated in 1939. After spending a year in the South Dakota National Guard, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserves in 1940. He became a certified naval pilot after the United States entered World War II, but was originally assigned as a Marine photographic reconnaissance squadron, despite having requested combat duty. Eventually transferred to the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, he would go on to become the top Marine Corps fighter ace during World War II, shooting down a confirmed twenty-six Japanese fighter planes. He was given command of a flight of eight Grumman F4F Wildcats, and because of their success they were dubbed "Foss' Flying Circus". He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery during the Battle of Guadalcanal from October 9 to November 19, 1942, with his citation reading "For outstanding heroism and courage above and beyond the call of duty as executive officer of Marine Fighting Squadron 121, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, at Guadalcanal. Engaging in almost daily combat with the enemy, Capt. Foss personally shot down 23 Japanese planes and damaged others so severely that their destruction was extremely probable. In addition, during this period, he successfully led a large number of escort missions, skillfully covering reconnaissance, bombing, and photographic planes as well as surface craft. On 15 January 1943, he added 3 more enemy planes to his already brilliant successes for a record of aerial combat achievement unsurpassed in this war. Boldly searching out an approaching enemy force on 25 January, Capt. Foss led his 8 F-4F Marine planes and 4 Army P-38's into action and, undaunted by tremendously superior numbers, intercepted and struck with such force that 4 Japanese fighters were shot down and the bombers were turned back without releasing a single bomb. His remarkable flying skill, inspiring leadership, and indomitable fighting spirit were distinctive factors in the defense of strategic American positions on Guadalcanal". His Medal was awarded to him in May 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at a ceremony at the White House in Washington, DC. He returned to combat duty as commander of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115, which he led for eight months until sickened by malaria. In December 1945 he was released from active duty with the rank of Major, and he founded a flight school in South Dakota upon his return home. He joined the South Dakota Air National Guard, eventually rising to Brigadier General. He served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War as Director of Operations and Training for the Central Air Defense Command, and after the war served in the South Dakota State Legislature. In 1955, at the age of thirty-five, he was elected as a Republican as Governor of South Dakota, serving a four-year term until 1959. He unsuccessfully ran twice for Congress (losing in 1958 to George McGovern for a House of Representatives seat). After leaving the South Dakota Governorship, he was appointed as commissioner of the newly-formed American Football League, He served in that role until 1966, helping build the league up to where it was competitive with the firmly established National Football League. He then was host of his own syndicated television outdoors show called "The Outdoorsman: Joe Foss", which ran from 1967 to 1974. In his later years he served as President of the National Rifle Association, authored three books, and founded the Joe Foss Institute for the education and promotion of history and civics in society. He passed away at age 86 in Scottsdale, Arizona on the first day of the year 2003.

World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, World War II Fighter Ace, 20th South Dakota Governor, Professional Football League Executive. Born in on a farm near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he desired at a young age to be a United States Marine Corps pilot, and took flight lessons while attending the University of South Dakota, from which he graduated in 1939. After spending a year in the South Dakota National Guard, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserves in 1940. He became a certified naval pilot after the United States entered World War II, but was originally assigned as a Marine photographic reconnaissance squadron, despite having requested combat duty. Eventually transferred to the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, he would go on to become the top Marine Corps fighter ace during World War II, shooting down a confirmed twenty-six Japanese fighter planes. He was given command of a flight of eight Grumman F4F Wildcats, and because of their success they were dubbed "Foss' Flying Circus". He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery during the Battle of Guadalcanal from October 9 to November 19, 1942, with his citation reading "For outstanding heroism and courage above and beyond the call of duty as executive officer of Marine Fighting Squadron 121, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, at Guadalcanal. Engaging in almost daily combat with the enemy, Capt. Foss personally shot down 23 Japanese planes and damaged others so severely that their destruction was extremely probable. In addition, during this period, he successfully led a large number of escort missions, skillfully covering reconnaissance, bombing, and photographic planes as well as surface craft. On 15 January 1943, he added 3 more enemy planes to his already brilliant successes for a record of aerial combat achievement unsurpassed in this war. Boldly searching out an approaching enemy force on 25 January, Capt. Foss led his 8 F-4F Marine planes and 4 Army P-38's into action and, undaunted by tremendously superior numbers, intercepted and struck with such force that 4 Japanese fighters were shot down and the bombers were turned back without releasing a single bomb. His remarkable flying skill, inspiring leadership, and indomitable fighting spirit were distinctive factors in the defense of strategic American positions on Guadalcanal". His Medal was awarded to him in May 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at a ceremony at the White House in Washington, DC. He returned to combat duty as commander of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115, which he led for eight months until sickened by malaria. In December 1945 he was released from active duty with the rank of Major, and he founded a flight school in South Dakota upon his return home. He joined the South Dakota Air National Guard, eventually rising to Brigadier General. He served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War as Director of Operations and Training for the Central Air Defense Command, and after the war served in the South Dakota State Legislature. In 1955, at the age of thirty-five, he was elected as a Republican as Governor of South Dakota, serving a four-year term until 1959. He unsuccessfully ran twice for Congress (losing in 1958 to George McGovern for a House of Representatives seat). After leaving the South Dakota Governorship, he was appointed as commissioner of the newly-formed American Football League, He served in that role until 1966, helping build the league up to where it was competitive with the firmly established National Football League. He then was host of his own syndicated television outdoors show called "The Outdoorsman: Joe Foss", which ran from 1967 to 1974. In his later years he served as President of the National Rifle Association, authored three books, and founded the Joe Foss Institute for the education and promotion of history and civics in society. He passed away at age 86 in Scottsdale, Arizona on the first day of the year 2003.

Bio by: RPD2


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Erik Lander
  • Added: 2 Jan 2003
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 7048825
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7048825/joseph-jacob-foss: accessed ), memorial page for Joseph Jacob Foss (17 Apr 1915–1 Jan 2003), Find a Grave Memorial ID 7048825, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave.