White, Joel B., Jr. (661st)

Joel-B.-White---rifleJoel B. White, Jr.

Biography:  Joel Brainard White, Jr. was born on July 21, 1910 in Jefferson City, Tennessee.  He was the son of Joel B. White Sr. and Sue Bishop and attended local schools graduating in 1934.  He would go on to attend Police Training School in Georgia and become a  Detective for the Atlanta Police Department in Dekalb County from 1939 to 1941.  While a police officer, he continued his schooling by taking courses in Criminology at Georgia Tech.

Service Time:  Joel entered the service on February 24, 1941 and attended Artillery school, later being assigned to the 179th Anti-tank battalion.  In the photo below, he is seated fourth from the right with the other officers of the 179th.  As a First Lieutenant he would spend four months as one of the unit’s administrative officers and later a Company Commander.  As a Captain, he would be the S-2 (intelligence) and later as a Major, the S-3 (operations) Officer.  Joel’s signature identifies him as the S-3 Officer of the 661st Tank Destroyer Battalion in February of 1945 .  He would leave the unit soon after and spend ten months as a military instructor.  In the Signal Corps photo below, you can see him standing with a group of reporters and a foreign officer.  Note the Instructors Patch with Skull and Cross-bones on the left of his jacket.  Another photo has him demonstrating one of the Army issued 1911 pistols.
































The photo above to the right shows Joel as a Second Lieutenant in his early military days.

Joel would remain in the service after WWII and serve in occupied Germany as a Public Safety Officer, attending the Command and General Staff College and rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel before leaving the service on April 9, 1948. He received the American Defense Medal, American Theater Medal, EAME Campaign Medal, W.W. II Victory Medal, Army Occupation Medal and was qualified as an Expert in both Pistol and Rifle.

Discharge Papers

After leaving the service, he transferred to the State Department and worked as a Foreign Staff Officer in Frankfurt Germany from 1949 to 1951.  Joel married the former Helga Ingeborg Gunther on July 21, 1951.  She was the daughter of Ehrenfried Gunther and was born in Leipzig, Germany.  Together the couple would have four children, Monika born in 1939, Axel born in 1942, Thomas born in 1948 and Bianca born in 1952.  Joel started working for the Atomic Energy Commission in 1952 as Chief of the Security branch in Amarillo, TX.  He remained there until 1954 when he was transferred to Los Alamos, New Mexico.  It was during this time that he attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and Civil Affairs – Military Government graduating in 1957.  In 1958, he was transferred to Albuquerque, as Chief of the Atomic Energy Commission’s Information Security Division.  At some point Joel worked for the Atomic Energy Commission as the UK/US Coordinator.

In his spare time, Joel continued his weapons expertise by competing in Pistol Matches and providing Combat Instruction.  He also enjoyed traveling the world and SCUBA diving.  He was active in the Army Reserve and was a staff member of the New Mexico Sector of the 8th U.S. Army Corps.  He was a member of the International Association for Identification, the International Association of Chiefs of Police,  the National Safety Council and the National Rifle Association.

Joel passed away on April 18, 2004 and was buried at the Sante Fe National Cemetery in Sante Fe New Mexico. I want to thank Joel’s son Thomas for providing the information and photos.