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Joseph Robert Hume, (Lt. Col.)

Posted 2017-05-19 by Judy Wight Branson
The Daily Courier, Prescott, Arizona
Sunday, May 14, 2017, page 6a

Lt. Colonel (USAF) Joseph R. Hume, Sr. On May 5, 2017, Joseph Hume, Sr., age 89 received his permanent change of station at the VA Hospital in Prescott, Arizona.

His assignment will be to shepherd those he left behind, his wife Beverly; daughter Rebecca; and two sons, Joseph and David. In addition, there are four grandsons and three great-grandchildren.

We will have a memorial for him at Prescott National Cemetery on Friday, May 19, at 3:00 p.m. Joe was born in Portland, Oregon on June 1, 1927. He spent his early years growing up in a very rural area, but something higher was calling. On a visit to his home, we found in his room old style metal model plans and fighter squadron patches, so his destiny seemed to be preordained. Near the end of WWII he enlisted in the Navy to be a corpsman at the age of 18. However, the war ended and he had to find another occupation.

In 1949 he enlisted in a brand new service called the United States Air Force. He quickly climbed through the different training evolutions starting with basic training in a T-6 Texan, a propeller driven aircraft. He then graduated to the first jets, starting with the T-33, where he became an instructor pilot. With the coming of the Korean War in 1950, he trained in the F-84 fighter bomber and was deployed quickly to South Korea. With his tour in Korea over, he came home where he learned his next assignment was to train in the brand new strategic bomber, the B-47. He flew his bomber on many overseas flights as part of the nuclear deterrence force used during the height of the Cold War.

Next up for the Lt. Colonel was scheduling officer at Offutt AFB, the headquarters for the Strategic Air Command. In 1965, he was lucky enough to become a two war pilot as he was assigned a classified mission in Vietnam flying what would become one of the first electronic warfare airplanes for the Air Force.

His mission was to fly over areas we were not supposed to go to ferret out enemy electronic transmissions, to fix the location and call in bombers to silence the radios and anyone around them. It was a very dangerous mission and he received a lot of ground fire. For his efforts in this regard, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the second highest medal that can be achieved short of the Medal of Honor.

A few years later in 1967 his next calling was to pilot the C-141 Starlifter, stationed at Charleston AFB, South Carolina. This included many flights around the world and in particular to Vietnam. In 1969, he decided he had just about all the fun he could stand and chose to retire, then moved the family to Prescott, Arizona, a place we knew well. Retiring to a peaceful mountain community and relaxing was not in the cards for Joe. He went looking for a job and found one at U.S. Motors. He joined the Senior Softball League and played there for many years and developed many friendships. At about the same time, he decided he could still serve the veteran community at the VA Hospital in Prescott and volunteered over 7500 hours in the service to the aging vets there.

During his time in Prescott he also played golf on a regular basis. Once his sons learned how to golf, he entered the 1972 Father-Son Tournament in Prescott that was held annually. He and his sons played for 20 consecutive years at the tournament and a great time was had by all. Those are some of the happiest memories. He taught his family well, teaching them about the important things in life, not to mention jazz (Stan Kenton), poker, and good scotch, in no particular order.

Godspeed Lt. Colonel Hume, you have truly slipped the bonds of earth and put out your hand and touched the face of God. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 Eighth Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10001.

To share a memory, please visit www.hamptonfuneralhome.com. Arrangements entrusted to Hampton Funeral Home.

Information provided by survivors.




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