From: Gloucester, Ma USA
Joe Foss, 87
WWII ace, 1st AFL commissioner
(By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times)
LOS ANGELES - Joe Foss, a fighter pilot legend of World War II, governor of South Dakota, and the influential first commissioner of the old American Football League, died Wednesday in a nursing facility in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 87.
AMERICAN ACE: THE JOE FOSS STORY
Joe Foss – World War II ace, Medal of Honor winner, governor, football commissioner, TV show host, business executive – is one of South Dakota’s most famous sons.
His story is the focus of AMERICAN ACE: THE JOE FOSS STORY, a production of South Dakota Public Television.
Foss, born to a South Dakota farm family in 1915, fell in love with airplanes as a boy. After his father died, this young man, still in his teens, put his dreams away to keep the family farm running. When his younger brother took over, he went on to college and learned to fly. He joined the Marines, and earned his wings at age 26, but was told he was too old to be a fighter pilot. But Foss persevered, getting his chance just months after Pearl Harbor.
Foss proved himself over Guadalcanal. In just six weeks, he shot down 23 Japanese planes. A couple of months later, he added three more. He earned international fame and the Medal of Honor.
After the war, he returned to South Dakota, starting a business, running for office and becoming Governor in 1955. His next claim to fame was as the first Commissioner of the American Football League. He went on to host two popular sports shows for television, excel as a business executive and support many charities and organizations.
AMERICAN ACE: THE JOE FOSS STORY is supported in part by a grant from the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Viewer’s Guides and Teacher’s Guides are available from SDPB’s Educational Services by calling 1-800-456-0766 or e-mailing [email]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email].