Joe Newsome, a Pennsylvania native, graduated from the Pennsylvania Military College in 1961 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army. During his 28-year career he served in a variety of units, including Field Artillery and Aviation. In July 1964 he completed the officer Rotary Wing Aviator course and in November of that year was bound for Vietnam. Upon his arrival at Bien Hoa he was assigned to the 118th Aviation Company of the 145th Aviation Battalion, flying UH-1B-1B (Huey) gunships. Known as the Bandits, they flew combat missions throughout the III and IV Corps areas of operation. Between December 2, 1964 and October 22, 1965, Captain Newsome was awarded the Air Medal and twenty-six Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart. he completed his tour in November of 1965 and returned to the US, where he served as a helicopter instructor and also completed training on the CH-47 (Chinook) at Fort Wolters, Texas. While at this station he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts to rescue the crew of a downed helicopter and survivors of a related ground action during his tour in Vietnam. In October of 1967 he returned to Vietnam for a second tour of duty where he was assigned to the 228th Assault Support Helicopter battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airborne) as Aircraft Commander, initially flying CH-47B
Chinook helicopters and later as Company Operations officer and Platoon Commander. During this tour of duty he was awarded the Bronze Star.
Newsome returned to the US in October of 1968 as a major. He continued to serve in different installations around the world and in many different units. He returned to Southeast Asia a third time in 1971-1972, when he was attached to the US Navy as Army Air Operations Officer with an Amphibious Task Force deployed off the coast of North and South Vietnam. he was awarded the Master Army Aviator designation in 1981 and promoted Colonel in 1983. He retired on July 31, 1989 at Fort Meade, Maryland.
Today Colonel Newsome's papers, photographs and artifacts are a part of the extensive holdings of the US Army Heritage and Education center.