Tuskegee Airman, Podiatrist & Entrepreneur
Joseph Elliott Chineworth Sr, was born in 1923 in Rock Island, Illinois to parents – Victoria and Alexander Chineworth. He had one brother Alexander and two sisters – Magdeline and Mary. His sister Mary Alice served as a nun with the Order of Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore, MD.
A Chicago area native, Joseph Chineworth graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in Rock Island and later attended St. Ambrose College and Northwestern University where he earned a degree in Podiatric medicine. He was also a pilot graduate of the Tuskegee Flight School, class 44-E. He was deployed with his unit, the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group to Europe where he served as a combat fighter pilot and a member of the legendary group that after the war would come to be known as the “Tuskegee Airmen”. He married Marion Chineworth and had 3 children – Joseph Jr, Michael, and Mark. He practiced podiatry for over 20 years until he bought a drugstore and soda fountain business on 47th and Drexel in Chicago which he named “Jo-Mar” for he and his wife. This was a family operated business where he was affectionately known in the neighborhood as “Doc”. He died in 1991 of pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his son, Mark, 5 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren in Chicago, Illinois.
Military Career of Joseph E. Chineworth
Joseph E. Chineworth was a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army Air Corps and served during WWII as a member of the 100FS, 332FG. On 24 March 1945, he shot down a fighter jet, a German Me-262. The Messerschmitt Me-262 was the first jet fighter to enter operational service in the history of military aviation. It was a superb day and night bomber interceptor, with a speed advantage so great, and armament so powerful, that it could easily intercept and destroy allied heavy bombers, while practically ignoring the bombers’ own gun turrets and their swarms of piston-engined escort fighters flown by numerous units including the 332nd FG.
The fighter version, named the Schwalbe (swallow), was armed with four 30mm guns in the nose, giving it an enormous punch which easily destroyed a heavy bomber, and also a stand-off firing range advantage against the bombers’ defensive weapons. Before the end of the war it was also armed with R4M unguided 50mm air-to-air rockets, which also proved very lethal against bomber formations, which were also fired from stand-off range.
Narrative of encounter by Lt Joseph E. Chineworth, 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group. 26 March 1945. HEADQUARTERS 332ND FIGHTER GROUP D-RBW/mcd Office of the Intelligence Officer
Chineworth mission narrative excerpted from the book “Tuskegee Airmen”; by Barry M. Stentiford.
A.P.O. 520, U.S. Army ENCOUNTERS WITH JET AIRCRAFT IN BERLIN AREA, 24 MARCH 1945 “At approximately 1215 hours while engaged in escorting B-17’s of the 5th Bomb Wing, my flight was attacked by three (3) ME-262’s. I was flying number two position and was at 29,000 feet at the time of the attack. The jets came in from ten o’clock low and passed under us, making a fairly tight 180 degree turn to the left. At this time we were to the left of the bombers and above them.
While the jets were in their turn, we dropped tanks and started a dive to the left of the enemy aircraft, pursuing them for 5,000 feet downward. At this point I lost my flight leader and picked up the number four man in our flight. Together, we went after another ME-262 that had just passed in front of us. I made a ninety degree left turn and was on the tail of the jet about 1,500 feet away. I fired three long bursts and then my guns stopped. I saw hits and pieces flew off his plane. Black smoke came from the enemy aircraft as he started into what appeared to be an uncontrolled dive.” “I had used a five to a zero degree deflection shot at him and my ship was equipped with the new K-14 gun sight. As I was pursuing the jet, I had my throttle full forward but I did not notice my air speed or manifold pressure at the time, but as I pulled away I was indicating from 355 to 375 MPH at 17,000 feet. My attack lasted for about five minutes.”
“I saw approximately nine (9) ME-262’s. Several of the jets I saw were not using power as I saw no smoke or contrails. The jets climb without using their power. Their approach to the bombers was without the use of power. They appeared unaggressive to fighters. They flew almost in a “U” formation with one behind the other.”
Image: Tuskegee Airmen attending a flight briefing.
Background (against the wall in wheel cap) Joseph (Joe) Chineworth Memphis, TN (HOR at enlistment), Class 44-B; Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945.
Source: Tuskegee Airmen 332nd Fighter Group pilots Toni Frissell, photographer; Library of Congress