Army Veteran Joseph R. Sarnoski is today’s Veteran of the Day.
Joseph R. Sarnoski was a bombardier for the Army Air Corps and later Army Air Forces who served in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. He was born in January 1915 as the second of 17 children in Simpson, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Army in March 1936, shortly after turning 21. After completing basic training, he was assigned to the 2nd Bomb Group in Langley Field, VA, where he served as a private for three years, and where he met and married his wife, Marie. Sarnoski took a course in advanced armament aircraft in Langley Field and had additional training in Lowry Field, Colorado. He graduated from the Air Corps Technical School in bomb sight maintenance.
Sarnoski was an aircraft armorer and then a B-17 Flying Fortress bombardier for the 2nd Bomb Group’s 41st Reconnaissance Squadron until 1941. Then, he was promoted to staff sergeant at Langley Field and served as a B-17 bombardier and bombing instructor with the 43rd Bomb Group’s 65th Bomb Squadron. With this unit, he traveled to Australia and to New Guinea over the course of two years. He earned a Silver Star in combat.
In May 1943, Sarnoski was commissioned as a second lieutenant, and he voluntarily became a bombardier for an aircraft crew flying over the Buka area of the Solomon Islands. On this mission, he shot down two fighters from his B-17’s nose gun, which was the first of 20 enemy fighters to attack, making it possible for the pilot flying his aircraft to finish his planned path. Sarnoski was killed in action in June 1943 after he continued to fire at the enemy while wounded, until he could no longer, collapsing on his guns.
Sarnoski was awarded the Medal of Honor for his efforts on this mission. He was originally buried in New Guinea but is now buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.
We honor his service.
Carry the Load
In 2022, VA is joining forces with Carry The Load to honor veterans during the “Memorial May” March, a national relay visiting 50 VA national cemeteries to honor our nation’s fallen service members. A link to this webpage is here. The complete list of participating cemeteries can be found here. Volunteers are encouraged to register in advance.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Kim McAdams
Editors: Alexander Reza, Merrit Pope
Researcher: Patrick E. Woods
Graphic Designer: Kiki Kelley
Project Manager: Oasis Diaz