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Joel  H  Vicars

1944

1965

Army Air Corps, First Lieutenant, entered the Army Air Forces, U. S. Army on April 11, 1942. He took a pre-flight course at Santa Ana, California and was transferred to Demming Army Air Field, in Deming, New Mexico. He graduated from the Bombardier Class WC-43-11 on July 31, 1943 at the Army Air Forces Bombardier School. He was presented with the coveted Silver Wings, symbolic of the aeronautical rating of a bombardier. and commissioned a second lieutenant to the Army of the U. S.

In January 1944 he was awarded the Air Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster for exceptionally meritorious achievement, while participating in five separate bomber combat missions over enemy-occupied Continental Europe. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross on March 10, 1944.

According to the citation:
Joel H. Vicars, 0-751857, 2nd Lieutenant, 524th Bombardment Squadron, 379th Bombardment Group (H), Army Air Forces, United States Army. For extraordinary achievement while serving as Bombardier of @ B-17 airplane on twenty-five bombardment missions over enemy-occupied Continental Europe. Displaying great courage and skill, Lt. Vicars, fighting from his gun position has warded off many enemy attacks and has ma- terially aided in the success of each of the twenty-five missions. The courage, coolness, and skill displayed by Lt. Vicars on all these occasions reflect the highest credit upon him- self and the Armed Forces of the U. S. Home Address: Wise, Wise County, VA.

When asked by the press which were the roughest missions, his answer was, "All twenty-five!" The closest call?..."Over Hal- berstadt (his 18th mission, February 22, 1944) when two unexploded anti-aircraft shells landed in the bomb bays. If they had exploded instead of proving to be duds, none of us would have gotten out of that one!" According to his pictorial scrapbook (which he maintained of all his twenty-five mission), he said of the Halberstadt Mission..."Lt. Mac's last mission very rough! "...379th suf- fered 100% battle damage ... 59 holes in Big Duke. Captain Simon's plane exploded near us. Sgt. J. F. Fallon, my old right waist gunner, went down with Simon - the most horrible sight I ever witnessed!"

In England on March 12, 1944 Vicars was advanced to the rank of first lieutenant. Following his twenty-five missions in Europe he was reassigned to Deming Army Air Field where he served as teacher of new bombardier cadets.

Vicars, born October 26, 1919, was the son of Joel Henderson Vicars, Sr. and Frances Menefee Vicars. Vicars graduated from Wise High School in 1937 and Fishburne Military School, Waynesboro, VA in 1939. He then attended two years at Clemson College in South Carolina before enlisting in the service. On August 8, 1943 he married Doris Elizabeth Shipley. (She died October 4, 1992) After the war he was discharged, and he entered the University of Virginia graduating with a B. A. in architecture in 1948. Interim work took him and his family to Bristol, Tennessee and Winston-Salem, North Carolina before his return to Wise in 1952 where he started two private business endeavors. The first building he designed and had built in Wise was his own office building which served as the location for his two businesses - "The Fruit Bowl" and "Joel H. Vicars, Architect. The Fruit Bowl became quite well known throughout Wise County as specializing in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially in the fall selling apples and fresh apple cider from the Vicar's Apple Orchard in Wise. Throughout the year it also included the sale of arts and crafts from the state of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. The Fruit Bowl closed in the late 50's, but he continued his work as an architect designing buildings throughout the states of Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia until his death on August 14,1972.

He is survived by his two children: Joel Henderson Vicars, III (Tick), Seattle, Washington and Karen V. Jung (better known as Vicki) of Bothell, Washington. He has two grandchildren by Vicki - Stewart Edward Grossman and Kimberly Gail Grossman, both in Bellingham, Washington. He is also survived by his sister, Peggy Early, Waynesboro, VA and Tom Vicars, Greenville, North Carolina.

In August 1993 his architectural work was submitted to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond for consideration of archiving his life's work. Through a grant from General Telephone Company received in December 1993 his work has been accepted by the Virginia Historical Society and is in the process of being archived at this time.

From Vickie Jung, letter dated June 9, 1994:
"...I sure learned a lot about my dad. Given that he died when I was 25 years old, I didn't have the opportunity to really get to know who he was. It's only been since mother's death and I've sorted through family papers and pictures that I've learned so much...

...... Please extend my appreciation to the Wise County Historical Society for this en- deavor. It sure gave me an unique opportunity to know more about my dad. Had I not had the task of creating the biography, I may never have found out what I did. The war was never much of a discussion in our family - but looking in his scrapbook I soon learned what a profound effect the war had on his life!..."

[Vickie Jung]
 
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