iconPAGE, JOE L. Joe L. Page, World War II fighter pilot, went home with his Lord December 10th, 2012. He was in the care of his loving family who were by his side. Joe was born in eastern Texas on January 9th, 1920 to Oscar B. Page and Essie Walker. His brother, James, preceded him in death in 1969. Joe is the husband of Evelyn D. Page and the father of two sons, Joe L. Page, Jr. of Chula Vista, CA and Paul D. Page of Daingerfield, TX. His grandchildren include Joe L. Page, III of Chula Vista, CA and Lisa Page Nelson of Portland, OR. His great-grandchildren are Savannah Page, Joe L. Page IV, Alexander Page of Chula Vista, CA and Luke Nelson of Portland, OR. Joe was very devoted to his family, spent time with them, conveying family history, values and traditions. His devotion included many extended family members who respect and loved him. Joe was born and grew up in East Texas and lived there until his entrance into the military in 1942. He and Evelyn D. Page were married in 1946 and celebrated their 66th anniversary on November 2, 2012. Joe volunteered for duty in the United States Air Corps in 1942, graduated and received his wings and commission as lieutenant at Moore Field, TX. He completed his advanced tactical flight training in Panama where he patrolled to defend the Panama Canal. After completing his training in Panama, he requested combat duty and was assigned to China. En route to China, he performed duties in North Africa and Italy, flying harbor patrol and flying cover. He received his P-47 plane in Karachi and flew it over "The Hump" (the Himalayan Mountains) to Kunming, China. Joe was in China for fifteen months and flew more than 48 missions. He was Missing In Action for 21 days when on a strafing mission his plane was hit and he was forced to bail out in a remote mountainous region. The Chinese rescued him; carriers carried him through the mountains to a base. The message in Chinese which was sewn into his jacket identified him as a friend who had come to help China in the war against Japan. The Chinese treated him as a friend and did whatever they could to help him. Joe wrote, "The Chinese were generous over and over. They gave me ducks, ham. School children gave me their oranges. I have no idea where they got those." When they said goodbye, after those days together, there was some feeling of sadness that they would "never see each other again." Joe remained in the Army Reserve until 1961 when he was separated with the rank of Captain. When Joe was in Taiwan on a business trip in 1986, reporters identified him as a World War II pilot in China and an article expressing appreciation appeared in the China Post. He was sent Chinese Air Force Wings presented by the Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese Air Force Republic of China, Taiwan, General Tang Fei. After leaving active military service, he served his country as an airplane pilot in the U.S. Border Patrol. He was stationed in Chula Vista, CA and El Centro, CA. and spent six months in Florida, during the Cuban crisis. Joe was a skilled pilot in single engine and multi-engine aircraft; and flew both aircrafts in the USBP. He was an exceptionally skilled observer and was able to use these skills, not only in his duties, but to assist other agencies, as well. Letters of commendation from his file recognize his superior performance with local law enforcement in various locations, the FBI, and the Mexican government. Joe assisted in finding "lost" persons in the deserts in Southern California and Northern Mexico. He has been described as "the best I have seen." Joe was able to live out his retirement dream beginning in 1991 when Evelyn retired. He returned to Mt. Pleasant, TX where he had lived his teenage years and was able to spend almost twenty years of his life in a house on a lake with an acreage of approximately 30 acres. He was able to have and train his horses, dogs, cows, miniature donkeys, goats, ducks, geese and all the wildlife that he loved. He returned to Chula Vista in 2008 due to failing health. His service celebrating his life was December 15, 2012 at Chapel of the Roses, Bonita, CA. He was honored by the Honor Guards of the United States Army Reserve, the US Border Patrol and the Chula Vista Police Department.


Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Jan. 9, 2013