Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Joseph

Last Name: Beck

Birthplace: Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: U.S. Army Air Forces (1941 - 1947)

Home of Record: Pittsburgh, PA
Middle Name: Albert

Date of Birth: 04 August 1919

Date of Death: 22 December 2008

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Years Served:
Joseph Albert Beck II

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Joseph Albert Beck II
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Air Forces

Joseph Albert Beck II was born on 4 August 1919 in Pittsburgh, PA, the son of Joseph Albert and Martha L.S. Beck. Raised in Pittsburgh, he attended Mt. Mercy and St. Paul's Cathedral elementary schools and graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1936. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Carnegie Institute of Technology (Carnegie Mellon University).

In the fall of 1940, he entered the U.S. Army Air Corps for pilot training. After completing flight training, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps with the rating of Pilot.

On 8 November 1942, then-First Lieutenant Joseph Albert Beck II was serving with the 60th Troop Carrier Group, Twelfth Air Force, U.S. Army Air Forces in the European Theater of Operations.

On that day, 1LT Beck was pilot of a troop carrier plane dropping airborne troops during the invasion of North Africa (Operation Torch). His flying skills and courageous actions that day earned him the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

His unit later dropped airborne troops during the invasion of Sicily. In 1944, he was transferred back to England and promoted to Commander of a newly-arrived squadron that flew operations in the invasions of Normandy and Southern France. In the Invasion of Holland, his plane was shot down and he was captured as a Prisoner of War and confined until the end of the war.

Post-Military Life

After his release from the Army when the war ended, he attended graduate school and received an Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1947. He worked for 19 years in South America in Uruguay, Venezuela and Argentina for a series of companies including Coca Cola, U. S. Steel Corp. and H. B. Maynard Co.

Upon returning to Pittsburgh in 1966, he worked for the K. K. Porter Company Inc. and then joined the Keystone metal Company in 1971 to manage its plant in Newark, NJ. He moved to Westfield, NJ, and finally retired from Keystone in 1985. He worked as a Consultant for several years before joining the Engineer Corps of The Internal Revenue Service where he worked in the Manhattan Office. He was a member of the Harvard Club of New York City and had been a member of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association and the Edgeworth Clubs in Pittsburgh.


He married Martha on 15 November 1950 while in South America and they had three children. The family has lived in Westfield, Mendham, Cranford and Mountainside, NJ.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal with Award Numeral 4
Prisoner of War Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Silver and 4 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Croix de Guerre (France)
Army Air Forces Pilot Badge

Distinguished Service Cross Citation (Synopsis)

First Lieutenant (Air Corps) Joseph Albert Beck, II, United States Army Air Forces, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Member of the Crew of a Troop Transport Airplane of the 60th Troop Carrier Group, TWELFTH Air Force, in action against enemy forces on November 8, 1942. The personal courage and zealous devotion to duty displayed by First Lieutenant Beck on this occasion have upheld the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 12th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.

General Orders: Allied Force Headquarters, General Orders No. 11 (1943)

Death and Burial

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Albert Beck II died on 22 December 2008 at West View Manor in Wooster, OH. He is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Erie, Erie County, PA.


Honoree ID: 311720   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image