February’s spotlight is on Joseph Horling , Staff Sergeant US Army 1942-1946.
Joe was born in Rahway NJ on Oct 1, 1920. He and his brother Anthony were born to Anthony Sr. and Bertha Horling . Joe’s father was born in Munich and his mother Bertha in Austria.
Joe enlisted in the Merchant Marines in 1942. Eight months later, in 1943, he enlisted in the US Army. Joe’s brother Anthony enlisted in the US Air Force at the same time.
In 1943 Joe headed off to basic training; first to Fort Dix for two weeks of processing before heading to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he entered Small Arms training school. Once there, Joe was assigned to 698 HM Company where he trained on small arms, tanks, and other weapons vehicles.
Joe was a saxophone player who by day, worked at the small arms warehouse but at night you could find him with his band at USO’s and Officer's clubs in the Kentucky area. He also volunteered to play at night and on weekends at the military clubs at both Fort Dix and Fort Knox.
Joe spent almost two years at Fort Knox. While he was in Kentucky, his brother Anthony was in small arms training at Langley AFB Virginia. While on Furlough on May 14, 1944, Joe married his love, Margaret May, a New Jersey school teacher.
Joe’s company received their overseas assignment and on New Year’s Eve 1944, they began their deployment. The first stop was Chicago to process. His company then boarded a train with a secret destination. The train headed down to Arizona and then up to Camp Stoneman in Seattle Washington for 10 days.
Their assignment was Honolulu Hawaii, just 3 years after Pearl Harbor. In Honolulu Joe serviced M26 Pershing and M4 Sherman Tanks for the Army and Marines for the invasions of Iwo Jima "Operation Detachment" and Okinawa “Operation Iceberg “. Anthony Horling, USAF, was assigned to Honolulu at the same time as his brother Joe.
While in Honolulu, the word came over the radio on September 2, 1945, that a Japanese delegation formally signed the instrument of surrender on board the USS Missouri, marking the official end of World War II.
Joe has fond memories of celebrating New Years Eve with his band after the war was over in 1945. Joe left Hawaii in January of 1946 and was honorably discharged in February 1946.
He returned home to the US and lived in New Brunswick for a short time with his wife. He then moved back home to Rahway and began working at the family locksmith business, Anthony’s Lock and Key Shop in Rahway. Anthony returned from Honolulu to Rahway and eventually settled in Clark.
Joe and Margaret had six children; two sons, Joseph and James, four daughters, Margaret, Patricia, Carol and Tina. Sons Joseph and James also had military careers. Joe has 15 grand kids and 16 great grand kids with two on the way this spring. Joe is currently living in Rahway where he will celebrate his 98th birthday in October.
Thank you Joseph Horling, a life member of the Clark VFW, for your service and all those men and women who served World War II. Thank you to all of our Veterans in the Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, National Guard and Reserves.