Joe Finch, born the day we dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima, spent formative years in Tucson, Morocco, Spain and Greece, returned to Tucson in 1961 to attend UofA. Drafted into the Army, 1966, he rose through the ranks to Lieutenant Colonel earning numerous combat and peacetime awards including the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross.
In Vietnam, Joe flew 1,869 hours in every type of helicopter mission known at that time -- including 409 hours of night gunship time before the advent of night vision goggles. He was credited with medical evacuation of 826 wounded, getting them to a hospital in time to save their lives. In 1970 Joe served another tour in Southeast Asia, this time in Thailand, where he flew covert missions into Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam. He was involved in Humanitarian missions, including the medical evacuation of Hua Hin following an August Typhoon that swept thousands into the sea. Captain Finches three crews rescued over 2000 people in 3 days.
Medically retired after a near-fatal stroke, Joe went back to work after 2 years of therapy. He joined the amphibious systems team as the Environmental engineer, helping lead the USMC Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle team to 12 National-level environmental awards. Joe pursues a variety of interests including hiking, biking, skiing, working with Veterans groups and writing. He and his wife helped the wounded troops returning from the Middle East for 15 years. Joe was the hospital outreach chairman for the 25th Infantry Division. Finch was awarded the 2009 "Sprit of Hope" award in recognition of his work with the wounded veterans. In 2014 Joe retired after 52 years in the work force. He lives with his wife Monika in The Villages, Florida. Joe is the author of “Angel’s Wing” A year in the skies of Vietnam and has published “Faces of the Distinguished Flying Cross of Central Florida” which contains 24 first person accounts of men who received a Distinguished Flying Cross in WW II, Korea, The Cold War and Vietnam.