Obituary of Joel Mikuta
COL (Ret) Joel J. Mikuta (89), a proud veteran of the Army, passed away on October 28, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Florida. The son of the late John and Grace Mikuta, he was born on June 3, 1934, in Gary Indiana, and grew up in Crown Point, IN, graduating from the local high school. He attended Indiana University, where he met his future wife, Jean Ann Stokes. He graduated in 1956 and was recognized as an ROTC standout and was granted a Regular Army commission. That same year, he and Jean Ann were married.
He went on to become a career Army officer, attending flight training to become rated as both a fixed wing and rotary wing (helicopter) pilot.
Highlights of his military career include being assigned to the Berlin Brigade in 1961, where he flew reconnaissance over the construction of the Berlin Wall, and on occasion, with generals and members of Congress on board. In 1964, he was assigned to the 227th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 11th Air Assault Division in Ft. Benning GA, where he trained on weaponized UH-1 Huey "gunships.” From 1965 to 1966 the 227th was assigned to the 1st Calvary Division at Ah Khe, South Vietnam, where he flew combat missions. From 1966 to 1967, he was assigned to the 197th Aviation Company to train on the Cobra attack helicopter at Ft. Benning, GA. From 1967 to 1968, he was the XO, and then the CO of the 334th Armed Helicopter Company, the "First With The Cobras," both in Vietnam and in combat located in Bien Hoa, South Vietnam. He flew a total of 467 hours Combat Time in Vietnam.
In 1969-70 he was assigned to Ft Leavenworth KS, where he attended the Command and General Staff College, earning the George C. Marshall award for being the top student. In 1970, he was assigned to the Army Material Command in Washington, D.C. In 1972, he was assigned to the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey, CA, to learn Thai, then he spent a year in Thailand as a military aviation advisor and was awarded the Royal Thai First Class Army Aviator Wings.
In 1974 he was assigned to the U.S. Army Logistics Center at Fort Lee, VA, where he received his final promotion to Colonel. In 1978, he was assigned to the U.S. Army Agency for Aviation Safety at Ft. Rucker, AL, where he became the Deputy Commander. He retired from the Army in 1984.
He was awarded a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, the Air Medal (numeral 11), Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with 2 Palm, Legion of Merit and the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.
In retirement, he and his wife lived in Enterprise, AL, and were active members of Green Hill Presbyterian Church. They were members of the Boll Weevil travel club, played golf, enjoyed bowling, playing cards, and visiting friends and family. Joel was a member of the Rotary Club and was a Mason.
Quiet and reserved, Joel was a kind, caring, generous, and supportive husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law, and friend.
Joel was recently preceded in death by his beloved youngest son, Jarrell Jay Mikuta (Fran) on October 19, 2023; his parents, John and Grace Mikuta, his sisters Grace Jean Henderson (Robert) and Jacqueline C. Roberts (Bela).
At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife of 67 years, Jean Ann (Stokes) Mikuta of St. Petersburg, Fl, however she died soon after, on November 6, 2023. He is survived by his son Joel Mikuta Jr. (Laurie) and granddaughter Georgia Mikuta, of New Port Richey, FL; his daughter-in-law Fran Mikuta, and grandsons Connor Mikuta and Kevin Mikuta, all of St. Petersburg, FL, and several nieces and nephews.
A private, joint graveside service for Joel and Jean Mikuta was held at Bushnell National Cemetery recently. Memorials may be given to the charity of your choice. Cards may be sent to the family in care of Joel Mikuta, Jr., 11436 Weaver Hollow Road, New Port Richey, FL 34654.
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