The following tale
of Joe Favela's WWII experiences was compiled by his nephew,
Richard E. “Rich” Favela, Colonel, USAF (Ret) and had originally
been intended for family consumption but has now been
contributed to the association for publication.
Uncle Joe’s Military Experience in WW II ( )
Joe finished 8th grade, did not go to high school and went to
work as a dishwasher at St. Joseph’s hospital in Phoenix – it
was 1935, the height of the Great Depression. Right after the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, he tried to
enlist but was turned down because he was not a U.S. citizen.
Shortly thereafter, Mexico entered the war on the side of the
allies and as a result, U.S. policy was changed and Mexican
nationals living in the States became eligible for the draft.
Joe had met and was dating Angelita Angulo and was working as a
janitor in a leather factory when, at the age of 21, he was
drafted into the U.S. Army. On Dec 1, 1942, he said his goodbyes
to Angie and his family and, with 6˘ in his pocket, got on a
train headed to Fort MacArthur in San Pedro CA for induction and
processing. His Army serial number – 39 853 321.
Next stop for Uncle Joe was basic training at Camp Roberts CA,
near Paso Robles, halfway between LA and San Francisco. While in
training, he fractured his arm during a boxing match and was set
back while his arm healed. A paratroop recruiter was in camp and
made his pitch. Uncle Joe jumped at the chance to make an extra
$50 a month in jump pay and the opportunity to wear nice
paratrooper boots - he volunteered for airborne infantry in May
of 1943. He was then transferred to Ft. Benning GA for jump
training and intensive physical conditioning. After he earned
his jump badge, the Army deemed that he would be a demolition
man and kept him at Ft Benning for demolition training. Upon
successfully completing the training, he was assigned Military
Occupational Specialty (MOS) code 533, demolition specialist. He
was then sent to Camp Mackall NC for assignment to the 508th
Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), a new airborne regiment that
had been activated the previous October at Camp Blanding FL.
The 508th was training hard for overseas employment, deploying
to Tennessee for six-weeks of maneuvers during their stay at
Camp Mackall. They were slated to