18th Fighter Wing Association
Korean War Veterans - Pacific Guardians
Updated March 2017
 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron  /  18th Fighter Bomber Wing
WWII - Korean War - Vietnam War Veteran  /  US Army Air Corps - US Air Force
Joe Peterburs enlisted on 30 November 1942 and was called to active duty as an Aviation Cadet on 26 January 1943.  He was selected for single engine pilot training & on 15 April 1944 he received his pilots’ wings and commission as a 2 nd  Lieutenant.  He flew the P-40N and A-24 during combat replacement training and on 6 November 1944 arrived in England.  He was assigned to the 55 th  Squadron of the 20 th  Fighter Group flying out of Kings Cliff RAF station. Lt. Peterburs was 19 years old.  The unit was equipped with the P-51 and he checked out in a P-51B and accumulated about 20 hours in the B, C and D models before he started flying combat.  He flew many memorable missions the 49 th  and last of which was the most exciting. On 10 April 1945 the Group was escorting 450+ B-17s to targets in Oranienburg an area near Berlin.   Just as the bombers were unloading, a swarm of Me 262 turbojets hit the formation.  Lt. Peterburs was flying high cover and saw a 262 slicing through the B-17s. Before he could latch on to the 262 he had blown 4 B-17s out of  the sky, 2 of which Peterburs saw him destroy.  Peterburs had considerable altitude advantage and pulled into the 262s 6 0’clock with his six .50 calibers blazing.  Peterburs saw hits and smoke on the 262s left wing and engine but broke off the chase when the 262 entered a cloud bank.  60 years later Peterburs found out that the damaged he inflicted on the Me 262 resulted in the engine disintegrating and the pilot bailing out.  The pilot of the Me 262 was Oberleunant Walter Schuck, a top German Ace with 206 confirmed air victories. Shortly after breaking off the 262 Peterburs started strafing an airfield and after a couple too many passes his aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire and he headed for friendly territory.  Before pulling off from his attack on the airfield he damaged several hangers and destroyed 5 enemy aircraft on the ground.  Unfortunately he was unable to make it back to friendly lines and had to bail out over Burg, Germany, immediately captured and became a POW.  He escaped joined the Russians and fought with them to the battle of Wittenberg on the Elbe. From 1945 until 1950 he held command and administrative non-flying jobs.  In June 1947 at 22 years old he was promoted to Captain.  In December 1951 he was assigned to the 12th Squadron of the 18th Fighter Bomber Group flying F-51Ds out of its base at Hoengsong (K-46), Korea. . After about 5 hours of re-familiarization in the P-51 he was flying combat.  He flew 76 missions over North Korea sustaining battle damage on several, including one in which he received multiple facial wounds from a bullet and shrapnel in the cockpit.  While assigned to the 18th he was Squadron flight leader, Assistant Group operations officer and Group training officer.  After Korea he was assigned to Tyndal AFB, Fl. where he was Operations Officer for a support unit flying F-51Hs and later F-80 A & Bs and the T-33.   In 1954 he participated in an Atomic bomb test at Camp Desert Rock, Nevada. In January 1955 he ejected from a T-33 with a fire in the plenum chamber.  In the late 1950s Major Peterburs served in Newfoundland, in the early 1960s at NORAD Headquarters and from 1965 to 1967 with RAF Fighter Command Headquarters, England. In 1967 Lt. Colonel Peterburs was assigned to 7th Air Force Headquarters, Viet Nam as staff operations officer for command and control in the war zone. During Tet a 122 mm rocket hit outside his barracks; blowing up his room while he slept.  From 1968 until 1972 he was director of the 31st NORAD Region Combat Operations Center; promoted to Colonel in 1969 he assumed the position of Director of Operations for the 507th Tactical Air Control Group.  From 1972 to 1978 he was assigned to Germany and held positions as the Air Liaison Officer to the US Army’s 7th Corps Commander, Commander of both the 600th and 601st Tactical Air Control Groups and Deputy Commander for Tactical Control of the 601st Tactical Control Wing.  In 1979 Colonel Peterburs retired after over 36 years and 5 months of active military service.  He is a Command Pilot with over 2000 hours conventional and 2000 hours jet time, 125 Combat Missions, 407 Combat Hours; a Master Air Weapons Controller and an inductee into the USAF Air Weapons Controller Hall of Fame. His military decorations include:  The Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross w/1olc, Bronze Star w/1olc, Purple Heart w/1olc, Air Medal w/7olc, P.O.W. Medal and 32 other Medals and awards.  

COLONEL JOSEPH A. PETERBURS

 

Updated December 2017
18th Fighter Wing Association
Korean War Veterans - Pacific Guardians
 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron  /  18th Fighter Bomber Wing
WWII - Korean War - Vietnam War Veteran  /  US Army Air Corps - US Air Force

COLONEL JOSEPH A. PETERBURS

 

Joe Peterburs enlisted on 30 November 1942 and was called to active duty as an Aviation Cadet on 26 January 1943.  He was selected forsingle engine pilot training & on 15 April 1944 he received his pilots’ wings and commission as a 2 nd  Lieutenant.  He flew the P-40N and A-24 during combat replacement training and on 6 November 1944 arrived in England.  He was assigned to the 55 th Squadron of the 20 th  Fighter Group flying out of Kings Cliff RAF station. Lt. Peterburs was 19 years old. The unit was equipped with the P-51 and he checked out in a P-51B and accumulated about 20 hours in the B, C and D models before he started flying combat.  He flew many memorable missions the 49 th  and last of which was the most exciting. On 10 April 1945 the Group was escorting 450+ B-17s to targets in Oranienburg an area near Berlin.   Just as the bombers were unloading, a swarm of Me 262 turbojets hit the formation. Lt. Peterburs was flying high cover and saw a 262 slicing through the B-17s. Before he could latch on to the 262 he had blown 4 B-17s out of  the sky, 2 of which Peterburs saw him destroy. Peterburs had considerable altitude advantage and pulled into the 262s 6 0’clock with his six .50 calibers blazing.  Peterburs saw hits and smoke on the 262s left wing and engine but broke off the chase when the 262 entered a cloud bank.  60 years later Peterburs found out that the damaged he inflicted on the Me 262 resulted in the engine disintegrating and the pilot bailing out.  The pilot of the Me 262 was Oberleunant Walter Schuck, a top German Ace with 206 confirmed air victories. Shortly after breaking off the 262 Peterburs started strafing an airfield and after a couple too many passes his aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire and he headed for friendly territory.  Before pulling off from his attack on the airfield he damaged several hangers and destroyed 5 enemy aircraft on the ground.  Unfortunately he was unable to make it back to friendly lines and had to bail out over Burg, Germany, immediately captured and became a POW.  He escaped joined the Russians and fought with them to the battle of Wittenberg on the Elbe. From 1945 until 1950 he held command and administrative non-flying jobs.  In June 1947 at 22 years old he was promoted to Captain.  In December 1951 he was assigned to the 12th Squadron of the 18th Fighter Bomber Group flying F-51Ds out of its base at Hoengsong (K-46), Korea.  After about 5 hours of re-familiarization in the P-51 he was flying combat.  He flew 76 missions over North Korea sustaining battle damage on several, including one in which he received multiple facial wounds from a bullet and shrapnel in the cockpit.  While assigned to the 18th he was Squadron flight leader,  Assistant Group operations officer and Group training officer.  After Korea he was assigned to Tyndal AFB, Fl. where he was Operations Officer for a support unit flying F-51Hs and later F-80 A & Bs and the T-33.   In 1954 he participated in an Atomic bomb test at Camp Desert Rock, Nevada.  In January 1955 he ejected from a T-33 with a fire in the plenum chamber.  In the late 1950s Major Peterburs served in Newfoundland, in the early 1960s at NORAD Headquarters and from 1965 to 1967 with RAF Fighter Command Headquarters, England. In 1967 Lt. Colonel Peterburs was assigned to 7th Air Force Headquarters, Viet Nam as staff operations officer for command and control in the war zone. During Tet a 122 mm rocket hit outside his barracks; blowing up his room while he slept.  From 1968 until 1972 he was director of the 31st NORAD Region Combat Operations Center; promoted to Colonel in 1969 he assumed the position of Director of Operations for the 507th Tactical Air Control Group. From 1972 to 1978 he was assigned to Germany and held positions as the Air Liaison Officer to the US Army’s 7th Corps Commander, Commander of both the 600th and 601st Tactical Air Control Groups and Deputy Commander for Tactical Control of the 601st Tactical Control Wing.  In 1979 Colonel Peterburs retired after over 36 years and 5 months of active military service.  He is a Command Pilot with over 2000 hours conventional and 2000 hours jet time, 125 Combat Missions, 407 Combat Hours; a Master Air Weapons Controller and an inductee into the USAF Air Weapons Controller Hall of Fame. His military decorations include:  The Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross w/1olc, Bronze Star w/1olc, Purple Heart w/1olc, Air Medal w/7olc, P.O.W. Medal and 32 other Medals and awards.