What is this website about?
My name is Kimberly Blankenstein, I’m 29, and I live in South Carolina.
In 1998, when I was a teenager, I saw “Little Joe” Noyes in a group photograph within the pages of B-17′s Over Berlin: Personal Stories from the 95th Bomb Group.
There was something about his expression that I identified with, and I felt compelled to seek the answers to long forgotten questions about his fate during the Second World War. Due to that strange intervention, and the way the cards have continuously fallen ever since, this unexpected history project was initiated.
While studying mission diagrams showing 95th Bomb Group aircraft which were assigned to specific positions in formation, I noticed that F/O Noyes participated in an August 1943 mission, but was no longer shown on the flying roster in October 1943. I wondered if something happened to him in-between those dates.
In the days of AOL, I wrote e-mails to anyone who I thought might be able to help me. Slowly I collected the pieces of Joe’s wartime puzzle, and put them together. I heard from veterans of the 95th Bomb Group, and these honorable men were generous with information about their time in the Air Corps, and the wingmen who left formation forever.
More details about Joe came to me from the desks of Second World War aviation historians in England, the National Archives, and a family home on Camano Island, north of Seattle.
The Present Day
Years ago I was on a simple quest to determine Joe’s fate. Over time, sharing my research has positively affected my life, so I feel that’s reason enough to keep studying his war story, and writing.
In 2009 I chose to relocate to Washington State to pursue my research on Joe. While in Seattle I had the rare opportunity to get to know some of Joe’s relatives, and I paid a memorable visit to his gravesite in the University District of Seattle.
As a full-time web development student today, I don’t have as much free time as I’d prefer to dedicate to my research, but I still do what I can — whenever I can. I continue to be involved with the 95th Bomb Group Memorials Foundation, and was honored to give a speech about “Little Joe” at their 2011 reunion.
Ideally, some day I will feel satisfied enough with all that I’ve done to publish a book about Joe’s life during the Second World War.
It may not be a bestseller, or a work of literary genius, but I promise to tell Joe’s story the way it deserves to be told. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy what this small website has to offer.