COL Joseph P. Madrano, U.S. Army (Ret.), born 20 Apr 22, in Reading, PA, to Dan and Agnes Madrano, filed his final flight plan 8 May 15. A proud veteran of three wars and over 39 years of total service, he started his military career at the age of 17 while still in high school, by joining the Oklahoma National Guard. Inducted into active federal service in 1940, he trained as infantry squad leader before transferring to the Army Air Corps, training as Aviation Cadet at Randolph and Ellington Fields, where he received his commission as 2LT and rating of Pilot.
Following training in Florida as a pilot of a Martin B-26, commonly called “The Widow Maker,” the “Flying Coffin,” or the dubious name of “Prostitute” (because it had no visible means of support), he completed 46 combat missions in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. After completing his tour, he returned to the States and served as a pilot instructor until his separation from the service in 1945. After graduation from University of Tulsa in 1949, he worked as a schoolteacher until he was called back into active service, this time as Medical Service Corps officer. He was then assigned to Japan, where he “sat out” the Korean conflict by training troops and providing services to returning troops.
In 1953 he returned to the States and undertook helicopter training at Ft. Sill, OK, and Ft. Rucker, AL, where he was retained as an instructor for two years. Over the following 20-plus years he served at a number of posts as a commander and staff officer, including two tours of Germany and one in Vietnam. While in Vietnam he commanded a medical evacuation unit. He also attended a number of schools, including the Army Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. The recipient of numerous awards and decorations from the U.S. and foreign governments, he was most proud of the Army Good Conduct Medal, which he claimed to have earned the old-fashioned way—by being a good soldier. Joe retired in 1979 at Ft. Lewis, WA, and since that time has been a volunteer in a number of activities in Washington and Texas.