As an aircraft mechanic, US Air Force veteran Carroll Joye didn’t see a fight in Vietnam, but he had heart-wrenching experiences.
He was used to seeing planes flying inside, shot down and damaged. And once the damage was just too much.
“By the time we got to the pilot he was dead,” Joye said.
Another time Joye was shot. He and another mechanic were working on an airplane on a run-up used for repairs and running engines. It was an isolated region.
Some Viet Cong entered the fence and started shooting at them. Joye was on the wing of the plane at the time.
“I heard that ‘ping, ping, ping’,” he says. He realized that the Viet Cong were shooting at him.
He and the other mechanic pursued the assailant and shot him.
“I don’t know if we got it or not,” Joye said.
Joye remembers a moment when a fellow aviator asked her to accompany him to a nearby town for a few drinks. Joye told him he didn’t want to, so the man left anyway. That night, the Viet Cong decided to attack the city.
Joye waited at the door all night for her friend to come in. Finally, the next morning, his friend arrived, bloody but alive. It forged a deep bond of friendship that continues to this day, according to Joye.
He said he still had dreams about Vietnam, although they weren’t as frequent as before.
“It was a good life, it was a good life,” Joye said of his time in the Air Force and as a pilot.
“And I would encourage anyone if they don’t have a goal in mind, like a doctor or a lawyer or something, to at least join the air force,” he said. “There is so much you can do.”
The 82-year-old entered the military on a whim. But it turned out for the best.
“I actually joined the Air Force in 1957 – my best friend said, ‘Hey let’s go join the Air Force’, that’s what we did,” he says. he.
“And I was there for 22 years, and it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Joye said he was from the Orangeburg area.
“We lived below Branchville … I went to school in Bamberg from grades one to six. Then when I moved to Rowesville, I went to Orangeburg High School, that was then. Then I finally… spent the 11th grade in Edisto – and that’s when I joined the Air Force, ”he said.
Flying was “the best thing that ever happened,” he said. “I think it’s the greatest thing in the world that I have ever done, other than to give my life to God.”
“While I was in the Air Force stationed in Spain, I learned to fly. And I became a flight instructor, and on July 17th, I will be teaching people to fly for 50 years.
In the Air Force, he moved stations 13 times – one of them being Vietnam, where he was an aircraft mechanic.
“I spent 14 months in Vietnam, from 66 to 67. And that was something I’ll never – never forget.
He went to Arizona after Vietnam, working on F-100s and F-104s.
“And from there I went to Ohio and we developed the C-119 and C-130 combat ships,” Joye said.
He then went to Spain, where he started flight training. A new guy came in and said he was taking a flying lesson.
“I said, ‘Damn it, you say! “”
After retiring from the Air Force as a master sergeant, he began teaching as an auto mechanics instructor. He went on to work as a company pilot and flight instructor, which he still does.
Facing the cost of theft, Joye decided to become a flight instructor to earn money while continuing to profit from this new hijacking. Driven by an unwavering determination to succeed, he went from first-flight neophyte to private pilot to flight instructor within a year.
A naturally born flight instructor, Joye has an easy going but firm demeanor. He is known for his unwavering ability to handle any plane incident with quick thinking and a level-headed manner.
In the fall of 1995, named by former student Raymond S. Graule, Joye was named Certified Flight Instructor of the Year by the Federal Aviation Administration. Graule praised his trusted teacher as a man who exhibited a serious approach to flight coupled with episodes of well-timed humor which made learning to fly a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. At that time, Joye held numerous licenses, ranging from initial private pilot to airline pilot, and ratings that included one instrument, single-engine, multi-engine, and esteemed flight instructor status.
In 2003, Joye was inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame by the South Carolina Aviation Association.
He is also a former manager of the Orangeburg Municipal Airport.
He and his wife Beverly live in the Cope area. He has two daughters, two sons and two sons-in-law; 14 grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren.