KEARNS, JOSEPH THOMAS JR.
Name: Joseph Thomas Kearns Jr. Branch/Rank: United States Air Force/O3 Unit: Date of Birth: 26 August 1936 Home City of Record: SEA CLIFF NY [see below note] Date of Loss: 03 June 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 174000 North 1062000 East Status (in 1973): Presumptive Finding of Death [see below note] Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: B57B #3862 Missions: Other Personnel in Incident: Theodore Springston PFOD Refno: 0721
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action Combat Casualty File. Updated 2007.
REMARKS: REMAINS RETURNED 8/88
CACCF/CHNGE 6/89 to home of record SEA GIRT NEW JERSEY
No further information available at this time.
From: "Sr. Mary Jo Kearns, R.S.M." To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: corrections Date: Mon, 28 May 2007 15:31:07 -0400
Thank you for hosting this web site! I wanted to let you know a couple of corrections regarding my brother.
Home city of Record: Sea Girt, New Jersey (not Sea Cliff, NY) This info is also incorrect in Washington, DC.
He was declared "killed" by the government - possibly in 1988 - only for the sake of settling his finances. His remains were never found, so he is really still MIA.
Thank you again!
Mary Jo Kearns, RSM
Mount St Mary House of Prayer, Watchung, NJ
Dear Chuck and Mary,
Thank you so much for your prompt reply!
Joe left a journal of his tour in Vietnam. Below are a few entries for your inspiration! A woman who still wears Joe's bracelet (Nan Slonacker) typed this for me/us. She said she felt as if Joe were present, looking over her shoulder as she typed.
God's blessings on your wonderful work!
Sincerely, Sr. Mary Jo Kearns, RSM
December 24, 1966 Phan Rang AB, Vietnam
Christmas Eve in Vietnam. An unusual quiet covers the country. The roar of jets, the blast of bombs, the thud of mortars, and the crackle of machine guns- all are silenced as men the world over pay tribute to the child who transformed the face of our earth. But not all the sounds of war are halted. The padding of feet along jungle trails, the splash of sampans in the rivers, the rumble of trucks and wagons on dirt roads beneath the roof of trees: these too are the sounds of war, and this is the war whose hushed violence is the background of Christmas, 1966. How many of our men will die, how many of our planes will fall to earth, struck down by the very guns that found their way into Communist hands on this Christian feast day?
December 28, 1966
Cardinal Spellman visited us yesterday. Seventy-seven years of age, unable to climb the steps to the altar unassisted, barely able to get in and out of his car, and scarcely able to genuflect during Mass- our bishop traversed half the globe to spend Christmas with his parishioners, dust-covered G.I.s, in this sun-baked, wind-beaten, war-torn land. And he thanked us for coming: us, who with the energy of youth walked or drove a few blocks; and he told us we were an inspiration to him!
It was not the powerful leader of New York's great archdiocese who came to visit; nor was it the brilliant scholar and influential politician; rather it was a shepherd, a humble and dedicated servant. No one could fail to know and understand that this aged man of God was not here of external necessity, but only of that self-generated need that exists because there is still some good in the world to be done, and because he still has left a few breaths and a little energy with which to do good. I'm sure I was not the only one to see, in the host he held high, the thousands of hosts and thousands of Masses he has offered since his ordination more than half a century ago; I know that everyone saw, in the hand raised in blessing, the same hand which has blessed soldiers and sailors, airmen and marines, in every part of the world at Christmastime, every year of the last twenty-seven- since before many of those who now received his blessing were born.
December 29, 1966
Perhaps now I've been here long enough to be able to describe Phan Rang and my reactions to it.
We have no sewerage, and have to use out-houses. We wash and shave outdoors, with cold water in a dishpan. Our shower is a large, public, plywood affair, equipped with warm water about half the time. We live seven and eight to a room, in one-room cabins called "hootches". The flight line is several miles from our quarters, and we make the trip in the back of a pick-up truck. Our operations building is an undersized quonset hut powered by a kerosene generator which roars all the time, even louder than the MD-3 power carts which used to shatter my nerves at Griffiss. Most of the roads on base are unpaved and bumpy. The dust blows so thick in the air that we chew it, breathe it, comb it out of our hair and blow it out of our noses. In short, I love it!
That's right, I think this place is great! I don't know why, but I enjoy it here. Maybe it's because we have a job to do and we're doing it. Perhaps it's because shaving with cold water and chewing dust are not really so bad as I would have expected. Maybe the reason is that life is rather simple here, without the traffic jams, petty regulations, requirements, obligations, and other ulcer-makers of our complex civilized life. Now I'm not implying that this is how I'd spend my whole life! The point is that it's really not bad here, and it's good to get away from the neuroses of civilization for a while.