Joseph Bernard Wuertz 

passed away quietly to his final eternal reward at his home in Atlanta on January 2, 2013. He was born on May 30, 1934, at the Daviess County Hospital in Washington, Indiana. He graduated from Washington Catholic High School in 1952 as Valedictorian. He was the Class President for both his junior and senior years and was a member of the National Honor Society.

He entered the United State Naval Academy in 1952 and graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. He was commissioned in the Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant. He is also a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and received a Master’s Degree in National Resources Management from George Washington University.


In his early career, Joe was a pilot and flight instructor in various commands and staffs in numerous locations from Washington, DC to Japan. He served two tours in Vietnam completing 229 combat missions. He flew fighters from four different aircraft carriers. He was the first Marine to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB and subsequently served as a test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River. He became a full member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, having flown 25 different types of aircraft for over 4,400 hours. He commanded a Fighter Squadron at MCAS Beaufort, and a Marine Air Group in the Western Pacific.


Decorations include, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medals, Naval Commendation Metal with Combat V, and various other awards. 

Joe left active duty in 1982 and returned to a family farm in Daviess County where, in addition to managing the farm, he consulted and operated his own truck tractor. He also served the county as a District Director, and member of the Daviess County Board of Aviation Commissioners. He was the Board’s President for four years.