Joe C. Gholston of Fitzpatrick, Alabama was a crewmember on a B-17 when he was shot down over France on June 16th, 1944. At the age of 23 he was Sgt. with the 351st BG Army Air Corps. After being shot down he was captured and taken to Brussels, Belgium and was kept locked up in solitary confinement for 30 days.
From there he was taken to Frankfurt, Germany for another 30 days of solitary confinement and was then taken by boxcar to Poland to be held in Camp Stalag IV. In January 1945 Joe was taken by boxcar for 9 days, standing-room only, to Camp Stalag I. On May 28, 1945 he was liberated by the Russians and he and the other prisoners were flown out on B-17s to Camp Lucky Strike in Le Harve, France.
After the war Joe went on to be become a Postmaster and spent most of his career with the United States Postal Service and his wife Helen. During his years in the service Joe received many medals for his bravery including the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the ETO of Operations with the Bronze Star and many more.
Joe Gholston's message to the future generation is, "Be stern with your fellowman so they do not forget the price of freedom". Joe Gholston passed on shortly after the above photo was taken at the Oct. 1998 Baton Rouge convention (Feb. 1999). He will remain in our thoughts forever with this tribute to his sprit.