From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Joseph Campbell '43

Date of birth: October 21, 1919

Date of death: May 29, 1952

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1943 Lucky Bag:


Joseph was lost on May 29, 1952 when his jet trainer crashed at Patuxent Naval Air Station.

From the Richmond Times Dispatch on May 31, 1952:

The Navy reported yesterday that Lieutenant Commander Joseph M. Campbell, whose family lives in Richmond, was killed late Thursday in the crash of a jet trainer.

The accident happened at Patuxent Naval Air Station, Md., while Campbell was practicing landings. No cause was given for the crash. A board of officers was assigned to investigate it.

Base officers said Campbell was making “touch-and-go” landings when the plane suddenly dipped and plunged into a small lake on the base.

The pilot, who lived on the base with his wife and two children, was a veteran of World War II. He held two presidential citations and theater ribbons from the European and Asiatic and Pacific areas.

He had served as a ship’s officer aboard the USS Essex and USS Ranger and later as an aide to Admiral D. T. Duncan in the Hawaiian area.

Campbell’s mother, Mrs. Dorothy Mitchell; a brother, Richard, and two sisters, Mrs. Harry O. Hazell and Mrs. Sterling M. Murray, live in Richmond. He is also survived by his wife, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Miles Campbell, and two children.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

From the Class of 1943 anniversary book "25 years later…":

Joe was born on 21 October 1919 in Richmond, Virginia. He was appointed at-large and entered the Academy on 8 July 1939. After he graduated he served in carrier USS RANGER which ship participated in the covering operations for the North Africans landings at Casablanca in November 1942. Upon completion of these operations, Joe was ordered to the commissioning detail of the carrier USS ESSEX, and served in that ship during her shaking down period in the Atlantic and in attacks on Marcus Island in the Pacific in September of 1943 and those on Japanese-held Wake Island in October. In November of that year the ESSEX conducted raids on Rabaul and then proceeded to take part in the operations that culminated in the landings on Tarawa. Later in the year the ESSEX participated in the carrier strikes on Kwajalein atoll and in January-February 1944 in action against the Japanese incident to the landing operations at Kwajalein followed by the first strikes on Truk.

The ship participated in the carrier strikes against Saipan and Guam in February 1944. For participation in the above engagements Joe was entitled to wear the Presidential Citation awarded to the ESSEX, the European theatre campaign medal with one bronze star and the Pacific theatre campaign medal with five bronze stars, This was followed by duty aboard the carrier USS RANGER.

In May 1944 Joe entered flight training at Dallas, Texas; Pensacola and Melbourne, Florida. He then served on the Staff of Commander Carrier Division FIVE, Commander In Chief Pacific and in the Office of Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for air as an Aide.

These duties were followed by flying with Fighter Squadron TWO EIGHT operating from the escort carrier USS SICILY and duty in May 1948 on the Staff of Commander Second Fleet. Joe then served with Fighter Squadron TWELVE and then had duty at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, It was here that Joe lost his life in an aircraft crash on 29 May 1952 while engaged in a local service flight. In addition to medals already mentioned he wore the American Defense Service with Fleet Clasp and the WW II Victory Medals. He was survived by his wife, Mary L. Miles Campbell, their children Sara M., Christopher M. whose address at the time Joe was killed was c/o Admiral A. C. Miles, USN 515 California Terrace, Pasadena, California.

Class of 1943

Joseph is one of 84 members of the Class of 1943 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.