James “Jim” Joiner
Date of birth: June 28, 1920
Dates of service: 1945 to 1946
Theater and location of service: Pacific, Korea
Rank: Private First Class
Unit and specialty: 57th anti-aircraft artillery and special service; sign painter
Lives in: Clovis
Veterans organizations: American Legion, Post 25
Jim Joiner spent most of his tour in Korea in the aftermath of the surrender of Japan. Trained for anti-aircraft artillery, he was reassigned as a sign painter in Korea.
Before joining the service while he lived in Clovis, he painted signs and did window displays for JC Penney and Montgomery Ward. His commanders found good use for his skills, having him paint road and street signs for the troops in addition to signs for upcoming entertainment and special events.
The primary duty for the men in Joiner’s unit was to evict the Japanese who had occupied Korea throughout the war.
“We went in to Korea to send the Japanese home,” Joiner said. “We packed them up and sent them home with what they could carry.”
Many of the Japanese had become established during their occupation of Korea, with nice homes and many possessions, according to Joiner.
“We would just round them up. Some of them kind of rebelled about having to leave, but I thought some of the people were kind of glad to go back. Some of them didn’t want to go, but they went willingly or otherwise. They had lost the war, and that was just part of what we was supposed to do. ”
The Koreans seemed to appreciate what the Americans were doing, Joiner said. “The native Korean people were glad to see (the Japanese) go. We had some of the young Korean men that we got to be real friendly with, and they accepted us. They thought that we were all right. It was an experience.”
After his service, Joiner returned to his railroad job in Clovis, eventually retiring as a conductor. “Retirement is the best job I’ve ever had,” he said.
Veterans’ profiles are a weekly feature. To submit a profile, contact CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson at 763-6991 or by e-mail at: