Joe Burford

Sharna Johnson

Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.

Joe Burford

Date of birth: Feb. 8, 1920

Dates of service: May 1942 to Dec. 1945

Hometown: Friona

Theater and location of service: Southwest and west Pacific

Branch: Army

Rank: 1st sergeant

Unit and specialty: 1700th Ordnance Company

Resides in: Pleasant Hill

In his own words: Burford was married and working as a farmer when the first draft notice came.

Going to the station to catch a bus to Lubbock, he received a waiver, excusing him from the draft for four months because the military acknowledged his obligations as a farmer.

Letter in hand, he returned home to his wife and budding farm.

Every month thereafter, he received a draft letter calling him to duty followed by a waiver, until one day no waiver came and Burford found himself on his way to war.

Receiving $8 a month from the government so that “Momma could live high on the hog,” Burford’s wife, who he lovingly calls “momma” kept the farm growing in his absence.

“Momma and her dad took care of things. We had dairy calves and she raised them,” he said, adding she also cooked at Pleasant Hill school to help ends meet.

He worried about things back home, but he was resolved to do his duty: “I didn’t want to go, but I was raised up that if you got a job to do you do your best, so I did my best and went up the ranks and became a first sergeant.”

His unit’s duty was to keep the men supplied with vehicles, ammunition and just about anything else they may need. He said, “It was our job to keep everything moving, to try to keep the supply line working.”

World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail: