Joseph F. Pearson



Chief Pearson

Bedford, England

CPO U.S. Navy retired Joseph "Joe" Frank Pearson, 86, of Bedford, England, passed away May 3, 2009.

Born Oct. 18, 1923, in Buck Creek, Indiana. He was the son of the late Frank and Eva Pearson. His first marriage was in 1948 in Brookston to Kathryn Woods Pearson of Hudson, Fla., and she survives. His third marriage was to Maggie Pearson in Bedford, England, and she survives.

Mr. Pearson entered the Navy in May 1942 and retired in May 1962 after completing 20 years of service.

Also surviving is a daughter, Teresa "Terry" Liebert (husband: David) of Delphi; two sons, Skip Pearson (wife: Maureen) of Detroit, Mich., and Gary Pearson (wife: Marva) of West Lafayette; and 10 grandchildren. A service at sea will be arranged at a later date

6/28/2009 - ROYAL AIR FORCE MOLESWORTH & ROYAL AIR FORCE ALCONBURY, England -- The old Chief beamed as young JAC Petty Officer Nicole Reddick told him "Chief, you are the saltiest salt I've ever met." When asked what was his favorite port of call during his many years at sea, Chief Pearson replied with a wink: "The last one and the one that we go to next."

Chief Radioman Joseph Pearson, U.S. Navy, landed under enemy fire on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944, aboard Landing Ship (Tank) 306. After landing troops, his ship retrieved British and American wounded and returned them to England. He retired from the Navy in May 1962 after completing 20 years of honorable Naval service. He married his British wife Maggie and settled down in the UK.

About ten years ago, a JAC Navy Chief noticed an older man standing outside the Base Exchange at RAF Lakenheath with the distinctive belt buckle of a Navy Chief. He went up to the man and addressed him as "Chief." The surprised Chief Pearson said it had been many, many years since anyone had called him that.

Thus began a lasting bond between a generation of JAC sailors and Chief Joe Pearson. The Chief was invited to Navy events and even bought a new uniform to wear at JAC Navy Balls. He counseled new Chiefs during their initiation and told amazing sea stories to young sailors.

Chief Pearson passed away recently at the age of 85. JAC Commander, Marine Corps Colonel Peter H. Devlin, JAC Deputy Commander Navy Captain Henry J. "Harry" Babin, and JAC Senior Enlisted Leader Navy Master Chief John C. Frakes led JAC Chiefs and sailors at services for Chief Pearson.

The Chief's ashes were released into the sea off Normandy, France, per his wishes by the destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) on 7 June, the day after the 65th anniversary of his first vist to Normandy on D-Day 1944. Navy Commander Mike Feyedelem, CO of the Porter, wrote to Master Chief Frakes: "It was honor to do this for Chief Pearson and his family. We rehearsed and pushed hard to get it done Sunday so it was as close to France as possible."

Col. Devlin recently received a touching card from Mrs. Maggie Pearson: "Thank you so very much for giving the tribute to Joe at the [Memorial] Service at the Bedford Crematorium. Many of the [British] civilians present had wanted to know about Joe's military service and were most interested in what you told them. Everyone was impressed with the uniforms and the Honor Guard - and particularly remarked on the fact that Joe's coffin was draped with the Stars and Stripes and later folded so meticulously before being presented to me. I felt so very proud, not only of my dear Joe, but also of Joe's friends in the United States military who so willingly carried out their various functions. Your involvement is so gratefully appreciated -- and I know everything that has happened in this, Joe's final journey, would have been so much more than he would have expected - a very big thank you, Maggie Pearson."

Chief Radioman Joe Pearson, United States Navy (Retired), will be sorely missed.

RMC Joseph F. Pearson, USN Retired

Chief Petty Officer Joseph “Joe” Pearson was born in Buck Creek, Indiana in October 1923 and entered the Navy in May 1942. After finishing bootcamp in Great Lakes, Illinois he reported to the Naval Radio and Electronics school in Evanston, Illinois where he earned the Radioman rating.

His first operational assignment was aboard the Tank Landing Ship USS LST-306. While assigned to LST-306, from November 1942 to December 1944, Chief Pearson participated in the North African Campaign and the Invasions of Palermo Sicily, Salerno Italy and Normandy France. He earned a Letter of Commendation for his “actions while under enemy fire and air attack” during the Italian invasion and follow up convoys.

Chief Pearson’s next assignment was aboard the USS Satyr, which participated in the occupation of Japan, while anchored in Tokyo Bay. Following this short assignment Chief Pearson reported to the USS Mt McKinley, which served as the flagship for the atomic bomb testing, known as Operation Crossroads, at Bikini Atoll. From November 1946 to February 1948, Chief Pearson served with Amphibious Forces Pacific Fleet, sailing between Okinawa, Guam, and China aboard the USS Skagit.

In February 1948, Chief Pearson reported to his first shore assignment at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida where he worked in the Operations Tower. Two years later he was sent back to sea, serving aboard four ships while assigned to Commander Service Squadron One in San Diego, California. This tour was interrupted by the outbreak of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula. This time Chief Pearson was sent to the Ammunitions Ship USS Mt Katmai, which received the Navy Unit Commendation for, amongst other things, being the only ammunition ship rearming the fleet during the first three months of the Korean War. Chief Pearson was initiated to Chief Petty Officer aboard the Mt Katmai while in port Sasebo, Japan in 1951.

In November 1951, Chief Pearson was once again assigned to Commander Service Squadron One, serving there for two years. In December 1953, he returned for duty in the Korean War aboard the Refrigeration Supply Vessel USS Zelima. From February 1954 to December 1957, Chief Pearson was an instructor in both the basic and advanced courses at the Radioman School located at Port Deposit, Maryland. In January 1958, Chief Pearson reported to the USS Aldebaran, his second supply ship, for duty along the U.S. East coast, West Indies and the Mediterranean Sea.

Chief Pearson’s last sea duty tour was aboard the brand new Ammunition Ship USS Pyro from July 1959 to December 1960. The Pyro provided underway replenishment services to various units of the Seventh Fleet in the Pacific. In December 1960 Chief Pearson reported to Commander in Chief Atlantic Fleet Headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia for staff duty. He retired from the Navy in May 1962 after completing 20 years of honorable Naval service.

Chief Pearson has received the following medals, ribbons and awards: Combat Action Ribbon (1 Gold Star), Navy Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal (1 Silver/1 Bronz Star), China Service Medal (2 Bronze Stars), American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Area Medal (4 Bronze Stars), Asiatic Pacific Medal (Asia Clasp), National Defense Service Medal (2 Bronze Stars), Korean Service Medal (3 Bronze Stars), Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, United Nations (Korea) Service Medal.

Joe and his wife Maggie reside in Bedford, England

Chief Pearson

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