MAJ Joe E. Ballinger was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 09/20/2021 at the age of 88.4
Norton, KS
Flight Classes 59 and 60-C
Date of Birth 05/01/1933
Served in the U.S. Air Force
Served in Vietnam with 38 ARRS DET 1 in 65, 38 ARRS DET 12 in 67, 3 ARRG in 72
Call sign in Vietnam PEDRO
This information was provided by Obituary, Jim Burns

More detail on this person: Joe Edward Ballinger was born May 1, 1933 to Guy Edward and Bernice Dorothy (McCrea) Ballinger, in Aldine township, Norton County, Kansas. He passed away at the Andbe Home on September 20, 2021 in Norton, Kansas at the age of 88. Joe started school in Aldine Township attending Dry Creek (Dead Man) school until second grade before attending Norton Public Schools and graduating Norton High School in 1950. Joe enlisted in the United States Air Force with the hope of becoming a jet pilot. He went to Denver to take the Cadet Pilot Exam but did not have the 40 semester hours needed to go into the jet pilot program. He did enter the Navigation Training Program and became a "rated Navigator". It wasn't exactly his dream of being a pilot but he was a step closer on the path. Following this training, he was stationed in Newfoundland (1960-64); Thailand (1965); and the Philippines (1969-71). He did three tours-of-duty in Vietnam: 1965, 1967 and 1972. Joe held the rank of Major when he retired from the military in 1973, having served 20 years and six days. Joe had finished a successful career in the Air Force and was looking for his next big adventure. He enrolled at Angelo State Univeristy ASU in Texas to pursue a degree in history. This time, he was focused on his classes and even made the Dean's List. He had the opportunity to fly again and left the university to become Chief of Aviation at the USAF Missile Range on Canton Island. Joe was a civilian-contract helicopter pilot in the remote island, Joe maintained his certification as an Airline Transport Pilot, the highest level of aircraft pilot licensing. His flight path in life took him to: Peru on an oil rig in the jungle, West Africa with the World Health Organization and then the Bahamas as a Navy contractor. Joe's career had taken him to over 40 countries around the world in his 24 years as a pilot. Joe managed three civilian units and commanded six military units resulting in approximately 20 years of helicopter operational responsibility without one single operator or maintenance error accident. Professional honors acquired during this time included 3-National Business Aircraft Association Safety awards, Military Airlife Command 5000 Hour Safety award, Air Training Command TOPS Safety award, American Spirit Honor award, Silver Star, Bronze Star, plus 39 other military awards and foreign decorations. He retired to Norton to enjoy a quieter life where he could serve his community. During his life he served as American Legion Commander for 4 years on Andros Island in the Caribbean Sea and 12 years in Norton. He was Quartermaster of the Norton Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was active on the Norton County Republican Central Committee advocating for Veteran's Affairs. His community service also included Rotary, the library board and serveral years at the Norton Historical Society and Museum. Joe married Pamela Stoney on October 25, 1997 in Norton. He is survived by his wife of the home. Children: Pamela Vela (Robert), Converse, TX; Michelle (Stoney) Prewo (Paul), Logan, KS; Aaron Stoney (Shawna), McCook NE; and Keith Stoney (Bethany), Manhattan, KS. Grandchildren: Misty and Mandy Vela, Converse, TX; Melissa Leiker, Ryan and Helen Prewo, Logan, KS; BenLee Stoney, McCook, NE; Tierra and Kaitlyn Stoney, Manhattan, KS. Eight great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild all of Converse, TX Joe was preceeded in death by his parents and grandson Aiden James Prewo. During an interview in 2021, Joe was asked if there was a message he wanted to leave everyone with. He smiled and answered "I've had a happy life and I love my wife!" Graveside services will be held Tues. Sept. 28 at 10:30 a.m. in the Kansas Veteran's Cemetery in Wakeeney with Pastor Nate Hagen officiating. Military honors will be conducted by the U.S. Air Force. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Monday, Sept 27 at the Norton American Legion. Memorial contributions may be made to the Norton American Legion, the Norton VFW, the Norton Library or the Norton County Museum. SERVICES Graveside Service Tuesday, September 28, 2021 10:30 AM Kansas Veteran's Cemetery 403 S. 13th Wakeeney, KS 67672

Burial information: Kansas Veteran's Cemetery, Wakeeney, KS

This information was last updated 09/26/2021

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Date posted on this site: 03/10/2024

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