Joseph W. Carmena, Jr. was commissioned 2nd Lt. ROTC at LSU in1950, and went on active duty March 1951 at Keesler AFB, MS. He entered pilot training in class 52-H at Columbus AFB, but was washed out on final military instrument check ride, one of 19 washed out that day on final check rides. Lt. Carmena attended navigator training at Ellington AFB, TX and bomb and low-level interdiction at Mather AFB, CA and received Navigator/Bombadier wings there. He then attended photo/ reccy and combat crew training in RB-26s at Shaw AFB, SC, escape & evasion at Stead AFB, NV and was shipped to K-14 (Kimpo, Korea) where he served as 11th TAC Recon Squadron navigator flying missions mostly over the Yellow Sea . He lived in a tent like you see on MASH on TV.
Returning after a year in Korea , he attended high-speed navigation training at Waco AFB, TX, and became an instructor there. Later, he was reassigned to Mather AFB where he became a classroom / T-29 Instructor in the B-47 bomb/nav system. After several years of this, he was selected to fly as navigator on the aircraft of a USAF 3-star General who was commander of NATO Air Forces in Southern Europe. He was based in Naples, Italy and served there 4 years.
Returning to the States in 1963 , he trained as a maintenance officer in the Minuteman ICBM Missile System and was assigned to the 44th Missile Maintenance Squadron at Ellsworth AFB, SD. He was originally assigned as a targeting and alignment officer with lots of jobs in the field, bringing missiles to full alert. He progressed from that to OIC Missile Electronics, OIC Missile Shops, maintenance task force commander for "Truck Travel II " (actual missile launch from Vandenberg AFB, Jan 1967), was assigned to 821 SAD as Missile Staff Officer and served on numerous occasions as team chief to Ellsworth AFB and F.E. Warren AFB during pre-IG visits.
Lt/Col Carmena retired in 1971. He maintained flying status from pilot training until retired, accumulating over 5000 hours as a navigator,130 hours as a military pilot and over 500 as a civilian pilot, and have been awarded both the Master Navigator and Master Missile badges. He has been on orders as an Navigator Instructor for 17 years and on flying status for 19 of 20 years of active duty, except for a short period between pilot and navigation training assignments.