U.S. Navy 1942–1952
Joseph Bonavire joined the U.S. Navy in early 1942. His 10-year service included three years on board the oil tanker the USS Chicopee, where he served as a gunner’s mate. He served in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, and was part of the invasions at Normandy and Okinawa. He also served in the Korean War as a member of the Seabees. He ended his Navy career with the rank of gunner’s mate 3rd class and received medals for the American Campaign, World War II Victory and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign. In 2009, he set up a nonprofit called SOS for World War II Vets, which provides the means for World War II veterans to visit memorials.