Joseph Francis Huls Jr. was born to Joseph Francis Sr. and Elizabeth Huls in June of 1919. He grew up in Teaneck along with his older siblings George and Caroline on 98 Maple Street. After completing 3 years of high school as a baseball star, Joseph was employed by the Sperry Gyroscope Company in Brooklyn to work on one of the company’s assembly lines. He entered into the navy on January 7th, 1943. Joseph went to boot camp at Great Lakes training center in Illinois.
Joseph went overseas in March of 1944 and on June 3rd, came aboard the USS Birmingham, where he would spend the duration of his service. The Birmingham was part of the Pacific Fleet. By giving fire support, the USS Birmingham helped take part in the invasions of Tinian, Saipan, and Guam, as well as the raids of the Philippine Islands, Okinawa, northern Luzon, and Formosa.
On October 24th 1944, during the Battle for Leyte Gulf in the South Pacific Theater the USS Birmingham was attempting to aid the heavily damaged USS Princeton when the latter ship exploded and the topside crew was devastated. Seaman Second Class Huls was one of them. He was 25 when he died.
Seaman Second Class Huls was memorialized in the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, Philippines. Mrs. Huls was given the Purple Heart on her son’s behalf.
- 1920 United States Federal Census
- 1930 United States Federal Census
- 1940 United States Federal Census
- U.S. Navy Cruise Books, 1918-2009 (USS Birmingham, CL-62, 1945)
- U. S. WWII Military Personnel Missing In Action or Lost At Sea, 1941-1946
- World War II Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Casualties, 1941-1945
- World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas
American Battle Monuments Commission Website
Weblink on USS Birmingham
Navy Memorial Website
Find A Grave Website