Joseph Bernard

Joseph Bernard

Veteran Honoree

Joseph Bernard O’Carroll was born on January 9, 1934 to a steam engine mechanic for the B&O Railroad Co. and a housewife.  He was a middle child of four children.  His family lived in the backstreets of south Baltimore in an area known as “Pigtown.”  This section of town was named for the slaughter house located there that gave off such an unpleasant smell that most people did not want to live in the area. 

Joseph was a quiet child in school, never getting into trouble.  When he got older, he went to work with his father for B&O Railroad starting as a mail boy.  He and his younger brother had watched his oldest brother join the Navy and go off to fight in WWII.  So in December 1952, Joseph decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and joined the Navy.  Upon evaluation, the Navy realized that he wasn’t an inexperienced kid.  They were getting a skilled, union worker.  After boot camp, instead of getting orders to go fight in Korea or to board any ship he was getting sent to Washington, DC to work for the newly developed NSA (National Security Agency).  He worked as a CT (Communications Tech) and lived in the barracks in Arlington, VA.  Working and living here made him a sailor in name only since he had yet to board a ship.

Once his first enlistment was up, Joseph decided to get out of the Navy.  He wanted to take his father on vacation to Disneyland.  Shortly after, he received a letter from the Reserves wanting him back.  This time around he was no longer a trainee but an experienced machine operator.  He ended up at Naval Radio Facility Kamiseya in Japan working with the U. S. Naval Security Group Activity.  He enjoyed working here so much that he asked to stay longer.  Because of the line of work he did, he wasn’t allowed so he had to move on.  After his enlistment he decided to get out of the military again and visit with a family of Japanese friends in Yokohama.  Since he had worked in the security field, the Navy didn’t like the idea of him staying in Japan with his friends so they wanted him to re-enlist again.  He was sent back to Kamiseya, which was just fine with him. 

Somewhere in the midst of him visiting Japan, he fell in love and got married.  When it came time for new orders to move from Kamiseya to a new duty station, he was told he could not bring his new Japanese bride for security reasons.  He got moved to a couple of different duty stations but eventually paperwork was squared away and the newlyweds were sent back to the United States to live in Norfolk.   In 1983, Joseph finally decided to retire while at Commander Fleet Activities in Japan after dedicating 31 years to the Navy. 

As a civilian, Joseph stayed in Japan with his wife.  He taught American English language and Customs Lifestyle.  He lived in Japan until 1997 until his loving wife passed away.  He decided to move back to the States and moved into the Naval Home, AFRH-G as we now know it.    Joseph is still a quiet, yet extremely interesting and intelligent person.  His Navy career is quite a unique one because he never sailed.  A friend once told him that he should write a book about his experiences.  That would be one fascinating and well-written book!