MICKELSON, JOEL ALFRED, Sergeant, # 39175015, USAAF
Joel A. Mickelson was born on 16 October 1910 in Murray Co., Minnesota, to John Mickelson (1871-1960) (Finland) and Mary Elizabeth (Walsanen) Mickelson (1885-1944) (Paavola, Finland). Siblings included William John Mickelson (1904-1977), Theodore Fredrick Mickelson (1906-1908), Kasper Ralph Mickelson (1907-1972), Marie Helena Mickelson (1909-1992), Theodore Leander Mickelson (1912-1982), Otto Ernest Mickelson (1917-1990), George Palmer Mickelson (1920-2001), and Norma Jean Mickelson (1934-1934).
He enlisted in the USAAF in Spokane, Washington, on 16 March 1942. He was trained in the maintenance and repair of the mechanical parts of the B-25 Mitchell and as a gunner. He earned his crewman wings. He was responsible for the maintenance and function of the weapons, except bombs. He was sent overseas to India. On 30 October 1944, a B-25H, # 43-4968, assigned to 10th Air Force, 12th Bomb Group, 82nd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Feni, India, on a bombing mission over the Mu River by-pass in Burma. The B-25H was last seen on a course of 360º at 9,800 feet as it disappeared through an overcast over the jungles of Burma. Witnesses were 1stLt George D. Carpenter, 0-479418, TSgt Walter B. Marsh, 12034601, and SSgt Elton D. Shinpoch, 7009428. TSgt Marsh reported that he was the radio operator-gunner in the lead B-25 and had completed the bomb run and were RTB when they flew into monsoon weather. Shortly after entering the monsoon, he saw Capt. Hummel descend, pass under their B-25’s tail, barely missing it. That B-25 flew to the right in a turn 90º from their lead B-25. When last seen, that B-25 was descending. 1stLt Carpenter reported that on their return course, he climbed through an alto stratus cloud at 1126 hours. Before entering it, the missing B-25 dropped back as if he was going to change position. He did not do this but continued to bear right. TSgt Marsh kept 1stLt Carpenter informed of the course of the B-25. During its descent and turn, the B-25 disappeared in the overcast.