Robert E. “Bob” Joyner of Apache Junction will receive a Congressional Gold Medal at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 15, at the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa. The medal is awarded by the U.S. Congress and is the highest civilian award in the U.S., on par with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, according to a press release.
In 2014, Congress approved legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to members of the Civil Air Patrol who served during World War II.
Last month, after Mr. Joyner contacted CAP National Headquarters, it was determined that his World War II-era service made him eligible to receive the medal. U.S. Rep. Andrew Biggs and Civil Air Patrol Arizona Wing Commander Col. Martha Morris will recognize Mr. Joyner at the ceremony and present his medal. Arizona State Sen. David Farnsworth and Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy also are expected to attend at the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum, 2017 N. Greenfield Road in Mesa.
Mr. Joyner joined the Civil Air Patrol as a cadet in 1942 while attending high school. When asked why he joined the CAP, he said, “It was the thing to do back in those days and because I loved airplanes so much. It was my way to contribute to the national war effort.”
He transferred to the senior squadron at Weir Cook Municipal Airport, in Indianapolis in June 1945. In September 1945 he was promoted to the grade of warrant officer, which he held until his enlistment in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Mr. Joyner became an airborne photographer and was selected as an instructor on B-24 bombers for active duty airborne photography operations. He served 2.5 years, leaving the newly formed U.S. Air Force as a non-commissioned officer. After his military service, he worked in the nuclear and chemical industries. He returned to his home state of Arizona and resides in Apache Junction. Mr. Joyner and his wife, Berna, have eight children. Two of their sons carried on the family tradition, serving in the U.S. Air Force.
Learn more about the Civil Air Patrol at http://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/.