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Captain Joseph P. Marr, Jr.
Captain Joseph P. Marr, Jr.
Captain Joseph P. Marr, Jr. Photo from Friday, June 30, 1944 The Capital Times

During World War II, the 405th Fighter Group were a part of the 9th Air Force and supported General Patton’s Third Army in Europe. They flew P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft. They activated for service on Feb. 4, 1943 at Drew Airfield near Tampa Bay, Florida. They trained and then shipped out to England in February 1944. In July, they moved to Southampton, England and continued flying over the continent. They were first stationed at the Royal Air Force base at Christchurch. From August 1944 to February 1945, they were stationed at Saint-Dizier, France. From February to April of 1945 they were stationed at Ophoven, the Netherlands.

They participated in bombing raids in advance of the D-Day invasion (Operation Overlord). After the invasion, they continued raids on German troops and supply stations until the war’s end in Europe on May 8, 1945.

Lafayette and Iowa county pilot Captain Joseph P. Marr, Jr. served with the 511 Fighter Squadron of the 405 Fighter Group of the U.S. Army Air Forces.

Joseph Peter “Murr” was born on Nov. 26, 1920 in Lafayette County, Wisconsin to Joseph Peter Marr, Sr. and Margaret (Palzkill) Marr. The family was living in Kendall Township, Lafayette County on the 1920 U.S. Census.

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From the 1930 and 1940 U.S. Census records, the Marr family remained at Kendall Township in Lafayette County. The household included father Joseph, mother Margaret, and children Raymond, Clement, Robert, Hellen and Joseph. Father Joseph was a farmer on his own account.

Joseph Jr. was a 1939 graduate of Mineral Point High School. He attended Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, but he was not found on a census record for 1940 by this researcher.

On Nov. 10, 1941, Joseph P. Marr enlisted for military service in WWII prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He enlisted at Camp Grant in Illinois. He was from Wisconsin and had attended two years of college. His occupation was “Semiskilled mechanics and repairmen, motor vehicles.” He was single, without dependents. He enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the Air Corps. 

From the July 9, 1942 Wisconsin State Journal noticed titled “Joseph Marr Home at Mineral Point,” stated “Lieut. Joseph Marr is spending a furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Marr. Marr was one of the 40 Badger youths who won their wings last Friday as members of the largest class of army air force pilots ever organized from the Gulf Coast air force training center at Randolph Field, Tex.”

Captain Joseph P. Marr, Jr.
Captain Joseph P. Marr, Jr.

From the Dec. 29, 1943 Wisconsin State Journal notice titled “Joseph Marr Becomes Captain,” additional information is stated “…Capt. Marr was graduated from the Mineral Point high school in 1939 and after attending Loras college for two years enlisted in the army air forces in the fall of 1941 as an aviation cadet. He received his primary flight training at Ballinger, Tex., his basic training at Goodfellow Field, San Antonio, Tex., and his advanced training at Moore Field, Mission, Tex., where he was commissioned a second lieutenant.

He was assigned to a dive-bomber squadron as a pilot and later was appointed assistant operations officer and later flight leader in his present organization.”

From the Friday, June 30, 1944 The Capital Times notice titled “Pilot Missing,” stated “Capt. Joseph P. Marr, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Marr, Mineral Point, pilot of an army dive bomber, has been missing in action over France since early this month, his parents have been informed by the war department.

Capt. Marr has been in service for two and a half years, and went overseas six months ago. He was stationed in England.”

Captain Marr is listed on the National WWII Memorial Registry as being from Iowa County, Wisconsin. His casualty date is June 14, 1944 and he was KIA. He was buried in the Brittany American Cemetery in St. James Manche, France. He was awarded the Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters (1 silver, 1 bronze) and the Purple Heart. There is also a memorial stone for him at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Mineral Point along with his family.

Thank you, Captain Joseph Peter Marr, for your service to and ultimate sacrifice for this country. We honor you and remember you.