461st plaque

461st Bombardment Group (H)

Joseph Frank Krippel

Staff Sergeant Joseph Frank Krippel was born on June 17, 1916 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He received his education from parochial schools and remembered the nuns being quite handy with their ruler.  He was an active youth, running everywhere possible and worked as a caddie at Brown Deer Country Club in Milwaukee.  His favorite pet was his dog, Skippy.  He was also a great shot and had a rifle range at one point, Club 35, 50 & 75 Ft. Rifle Range (.22 long rifle only).

He entered the Army Air Corps on September 24, 1942.  He was trained at various locations before being assigned to the Fifteenth Air Force, 49th Bombardment Wing, 461st Bomb Group (H), 766th Squadron, as a tail gunner on the B-24 on October 19, 1943.  He was a member of crew #56 commanded by Joseph B. Hesser.  He arrived in Italy on January 29, 1944.  He completed his 50 missions over various parts of Southeastern Europe and North Africa and returned to the United States on September 1, 1944, and was discharged for the convenience of the government on September 7, 1945.

Joe married the former Catherine Benjamin.  Their son, Joel, was born in 1943.  Their marriage did not survive all the changes after WWII.  Joe remained in Milwaukee, meeting and marrying the former Betty Joyce Helen Anderson on June 17, 1950.  Their son, Kevin Paul, was born on April 1, 1951.  Their daughter, Karen Elizabeth, was born on June 27, 1958.  Joe and Betty divorced on April 25, 1974.

Joe worked for Milwaukee County Stadium as a union painter.  In December 1963, Joe and Betty moved to Florida where work would be year-round.  They lived briefly in Pompano and Plantation eventually settling in Fort Lauderdale.  Joe worked as a union painter for Local #160 after taking some ribbing for possibly being a snow bunny (temporary worker who flees from the northern winters) until his retirement on November 1, 1983.  He then moved to Denver, Colorado to be close to his daughter and her family.  His grandson, Michael Patrick McGriff, was born October 3, 1981.

Joe was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease on January 8, 1988.  He also was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease although he did not have the characteristic shaking with Parkinson’s, just a general loss of balance and a tendency to walk sort of on “tip-toe.”

In early 1990, Joe was moved from Denver to Ohio where his daughter now lived.  His Alzheimer’s had progressed but he was still between stages.  Within a week of attending a family reunion in August 1991, his health had deteriorated to the point where he was taken to the Dayton VA Medical Center ER.  He was in the hospital for approximately two weeks, and then placed in the VA nursing home, where he lived until his death on April 22, 1996.  Joe was buried at the Dayton National Cemetery on April 25, 1996.


Hobbies:  Fishing and football

Sports:  Bowling, tennis, golf, badminton

Opinions, Tastes and Evaluations:

Particularly fond of the Green Bay Packers and coach Vince Lombardi.

Favorite expression:

"If you get tired at what you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong."

Decorations and Medals:

European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with two Bronze Battle Stars (Air Combat-Balkans and Rome-Arno)

Air Medal (GO #405 HQ Fifteenth AF 44) with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster (GO #2593 HQ Fifteenth AF 44)

Distinguished Unit Badge (GO #92 HQ WD 44)

Overseas Service Bar

Good Conduct Medal