Last Wartime rank:

Commanding Officer
362nd Fighter Group
9th Air Force

Theatre(s): ETO/PTO

Grand Island, Nebraska

Grand Island High School
University Of Nebraska
Air Command & Staff School
Air War College

AIR: 3

1 German Light Cruiser Destroyed

Total Sorties:
100+ (ETO)
350+ Hours (PTO)
Strike Rate: N/A

Distingushed Service Cross
Silver Star
Distinguished Flying Cross w/ OLC
Legion of Merit
Air Medal w/15 OLC
Croix de Guerre w/ Palm
European Theatre and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medals
2 DUC plus others.

Assigned Combat Aircraft:
B8*A, "5 by 5"

SN: SN: 44-33287

*"You want to know the "Numbers" of my P-47s? We were so busy that I can't remember all that gawdammed stuff! Well, I flew "12" of them! Some with holes big enough to stick your shoulders through!" J.L. Laughlin

Flying Cadet, 1939
Commissioned 2/Lt. and received wings in USAAC, at Kelly Field, Texas - June 1940.
To the 14th Pursuit Sq. at Wheeler Field near Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - Sept. 1940

Following attack on Pearl Harbor, Laughlin flew 350 plus operational hours against the Japanese concluding his tour as C.O. of the 45th FS/18th FG. Returned to USA and assumed command of the newly formed 379th FS/362nd FG. In Europe, Laughlin continued as C.O. of the 379th FS and later became C.O. of the entire 362nd FG/IX FC under XIX TAC supporting Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army thrust into Germany.

Returning to USA in Sept. 1945, Laughlin commanded the 362nd FG at Biggs Field, Texas and the 20th FG at Shaw Field, South Carolina.
Entered Air Command & Staff School - Maxwell Field, Alabama in Sept. 1947 graduating in June 1948. Served with the 10th Air Force - Selfridge AFB, Mich. as Chief ANG Division and later as Director of Operations and Training.

Attended Air War College 1951. Assigned to HQ USAF, Washington D.C. as Chief Air Defense Division, Directorate of Requirements, 1952. Served as Senior AF Advisor with the Military Assistance Group to Formosa, 1955-57, in capacity of personal advisor to President Chiang Kai-Shek as well as advisor to CIC, Chinese Nationalist AF, Gen. Wang Shu Ming.

Returned to USA as C.O. of the 506th Tactical Ftr. Wing. Transferred to Nellis, AFB as Deputy Wing Commander and later C.O. of the 4520th Combat Crew Training Wing. Assigned to 12th AF, Waco, Texas as Chief of Staff to HQ, 1959-61. Became Director of Training, TAC HQ at Langley AFB. 1963, Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations, 17th AF at Ramstein AFB, Germany 1964. Chief of Staff, 17th AF. July 1966, Vice-Commander Air Forces Korea/314th Air Division. Aug. 1967, Senior Air Force Representative to Field Artillery Center, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.
Retired from the USAF effective Nov. 1, 1969.

NOTES: Col. Laughlin, a graduate of the Air Command & Staff School and the Air War College, is rated as a Command Pilot with over 4,000 hours of flying time.


Artwork by Rocky Gooch — Photograph courtesy of the Joseph L. Laughlin.