October 5, 1920 (Norwalk, CT) – August 28, 2012 (Norwalk, CT); 91 years old
Married to Marian Tomasian on May 27, 1942 in Norwalk
Lived at 12 Cleveland Terrace prior to enlisting
Enlisted September 18, 1942
Serial number O-816742
Unit: 96th Bomb Group, 339th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)
Received the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart Medal.
Co-pilot of B17G tail #42-40016, aka “The Character”. Shot down over Augsburg, Germany and crashed 30 miles southwest of Augsburg. Captured on April 13, 1944. Transported to Stalag Luft 1 at Barth, Germany. Germans abandoned the camp on April 30, 1945. He was discharged on November 29, 1945. Of the 10 person crew, 6 were Killed In Action.
Missing Air Crew Report
Date: April 13, 1944
Destination: Augsburg, Germany
Aircraft type: B-17G
Aircraft serial number: 42-40016
Details: Hit by flak. Knocked out the whole electrical system. Pilot was unable to notify crew members because the warning bell and the Inter phone did not work. The Co-Pilot immediately pulled the emergency knob for bomb bay doors and it was impossible to get into radio compartment. Plane’s #1 engine was afire and 2 other engines feathered.
Air Crew of 42-40016 (7 KIA, 3 POW = 10 total)
2nd Lt John C. Daniel Jr., Virginia, Pilot, KIA
2nd Lt Joseph W. Kiska, Norwalk CT, Co-Pilot, POW
2nd Lt James G. Hatheway, Portland OR, Navigator, KIA
2nd Lt Andrew F. Detmers, Ionia MI, Bombardier, POW
SSgt Charles E. Gilmore, Romney IN, Engineer / Top Turret Gunner, KIA
SSgt John S. Drozd, Middletown, CT, Radio Operator / Nose Gunner, POW
Sgt James E. Preston, Brooklyn NY, Assistant Engineer / Right Waist Gunner, KIA
Sgt Emery M. Radman, Gary IN, Assistant Radio Operator / Ball Turret Gunner, KIA
Sgt James B. Curran, Dorchester MA, Armorer / Tail Gunner, KIA (replacement; 1st mission)
Sgt Cyril J. Mullin, Walnut KS, Assistant Armorer / Left Waist Gunner, KIA
From The Norwalk Hour October 23, 1936 (16 years old)
(Special To The Norwalk Hour) Washington, D.C., — The Bureau of Air Commerce here has permitted Joseph W. Kiska, 12 Soundview Terrace, Norwalk, to learn to fly. Kiska has been given a student pilot license by the bureau which permits him to fly almost everywhere in order to acquire enough hours of solo flying to qualify later for an amateur, private, or commercial license. He many not, however, carry passengers or cargo and fly to airports where air races are in progress. In order to qualify for a student license, Kiska had to undergo an examination given by an air commerce medical examiner to determine whether he was suited in every respect to pilot an airplane.
From The Norwalk Hour November 18, 1942
Private Joseph Kiska, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen J. Kiska of 12 Cleveland Terrace, has left the Westover Field Air Base near Springfield, Massachusetts for the Air Forces Classification center at Nashville, Tennessee, as an aviation cadet. Private Kiska, who attended Norwalk High School, was employed by Drasky and Gage in South Norwalk, when he enlisted September 18 at Hartford as an aviation cadet. Flying has been a hobby with him most of his life. His wife, Mrs. Marian Margaret Kiska, resides at 10 Larsen Street, South Norwalk. He has been at Westover since September 29 waiting the orders to commence the pilot training program.
From The Norwalk Hour February 10, 1943
Maxwell Field, Alabama – Joseph William Kiska, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Kiska of 10 Larsen Street, Norwalk, Connecticut, is now enrolled as an aviation cadet in the Army Air Forces Pre-Flight School for Pilots at Maxwell Field; located on the outskirts of Montgomery, the capital of Alabama. Here, the new class of cadets is receiving nine weeks of intensive military, physical and academic training preparatory to beginning their actual flight instruction at one of the many primary flying schools in the Army Air Forces Southeast Training Center. Cadet Kiska attended Benjamin Franklin Junior High School, Norwalk Connecticut, and State Trade School, Stamford, Connecticut. He enlisted in the U.S. Army September 18, 1942, and was appointed an aviation cadet in the Army Air Forces on November 15, 1942. At a very young age he did private flying from Norwalk Airport. Cadet Kiska began his Preflight Course at Maxwell Field, Alabama, on January 31.
From The Norwalk Hour July 17, 1944
Word has been received that Lieutenant Joseph W. Kiska, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Kiska of Cleveland Terrace and husband of Mrs. Marian K. Kiska of 10 Larsen Street, who was reported as missing in action over the European area by the War Department in May, is being held a prisoner of war by Germany. Lieutenant Kiska enlisted in the Army September 18, 1942, and was appointed aviation cadet in the Army Air Force on November 18, 1942. He trained at Maxwell Field, Alabama, and Bennettsville, South Carolina. He was pilot of the U.S. Army bomber, “Flying Wolf.”
From The Norwalk Hour September 7, 1945
Atlantic City, N.J. – 2nd Lieutenant Joseph William Kiska, husband of Mrs. Marian Tamasian Kiska, of 10 Larsen Street, South Norwalk, Connecticut, has reported to the AAF Redistribution Station No. 1 here after 145 months of service overseas in the European Theatre of war. Lieutenant Kiska served as a pilot on a Fortress while overseas. He engaged in five combat missions. The returnee is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen J. Kiska, who reside at 12 Cleveland Terrace, South Norwalk, Connecticut. Entering the service on September 18, 1942, the lieutenant underwent training at South Carolina, Georgia, and Iowa prior to his shipment overseas on March 6, 1944.
From The Norwalk Hour August 31, 2012
Joseph W. Kiska, 91, died Tuesday, August 28, 2012, at his home. Joseph “Joe” Kiska was born October 5, 1920, and he remained a lifelong resident of Norwalk. He was the son of the late Stephen and Anna Juhasz Kiska. He is survived by two daughters Kathleen S. Kiska of Spartanburg, SC and Regina C. Kiska of Westport. He was predeceased by his brothers Ladislaus, Stephen, Frank, and Thomas and his sisters Agnes Deilus, Margaret Kiska, Anne Peden, Marian Kiska (Sr. Mary Bonaventure), and Veronica Kiska. He leaves behind 2 grandchildren George Britto and Christine Woitowitz and many nieces and nephews. Joe was a B17 pilot in W.W.II, was shot down over Germany, and spent 13 months as a POW. Throughout his lifetime he stayed involved in flying and aviation, which was his passion, including building a 3/4-scale Focke Wulf 190 replica German fighter plane, which he successfully flew many times from Oxford Airport, his “home away from home.” He was also proud to have worked on the restoration of a military aircraft on-site at Andrews Air Force Base. Until his retirement, Joe enjoyed a fulfilling career at Perkin Elmer in the Optics field, where one of his projects of note was working on the original Hubbell telescope. Calling hours will be at Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Avenue Norwalk, on Tuesday, Sept. 4, between the hours of 6:00-8:00pm. Burial at a later date will be at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, which was Joe’s final request, and which will be carried out with the dignity and respect that he deserved. Please visit http://www.collins-funeral.com to leave condolences.
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery; Section 64, Grave 4413. Photo from ancexplorer.army.mil.