In a ceremony at the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa, Robert Joyner of Apache Junction, Arizona, received a Congressional Gold Medal for his service in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II.
During the ceremony, Joyner said, “I have belonged to many different organizations in my life, but the one that had the most impact was the Civil Air Patrol. It opened doors for me that I never would have imagined.”
The medal is awarded by the United States Congress and is the highest civilian award in the U.S., on par with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 2014, Congress approved legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to members of the Civil Air Patrol who served during World War II. After Joyner contacted CAP National Headquarters, it was determined that his World War II-era service made him eligible to receive the medal. U.S. Representative Andrew Biggs and CAP Arizona Wing Commander Col. Martha Morris recognized Joyner at the ceremony and presented his medal. Arizona State Senator David Farnsworth and Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy also attended.
Joyner joined the CAP as a cadet in 1942 while attending high school. When asked why he joined the CAP, Joyner 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 located 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 Forces.
Joyner became an airborne photographer and was selected as an instructor on B-24 bombers for active duty airborne photography operations. He served two and a half 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 currently resides in Apache Junction. Joyner and his wife, Verna, have eight children. Two of their sons carried on the family tradition, serving proudly in the U.S. Air Force.
Learn more about the Civil Air Patrol Congressional Gold Medal.