Pfc Joseph ORIGLIO
307th Bomb Group
New Guinea & Luzon & Morotai
Born in Akron, Ohio, Joe Origlio had an interest in art from the age of nine. As an artist he was mainly self thought. In high school he was often called upon to illustrate posters for school programs. He left high school and went to work for the Firestone Rubber Company, as a machinist making metal parts for the war effort. Joe Origlio was drafted into the army in February 1943 and served as a member of the 871st Airborne Engineers in the in the South Pacific. He was then assigned to be a painter for the 13th Air Force, 307th Bomb Group. His responsibilities included spray painting the numbers and insignias on aircraft, this may have included painting the stenciled emblem of the 307th Long Rangers on the B-24 tail fins -- a large blue circle with the stylized LR logo. He was also responsible for hand painting any signs that were required on the air base.
In his spare time Pfc. Joe Origlio started painting nose art and leather jackets for the flight crews, and quickly gained a reputation for his talented art work. He painted and signed nose art on several B-24 bombers including, #132 'Rose Marie', painted from an autographed photo to the flight crew from Rose Marie, of the Dick van Dike Show fame, she was a night club singer in Los Vegas at the time. He also painted #133 'This is it', #176 'My Irish Colleen', #354 'Louise Mary', #442 'Indian Thummer', #548 'Polly', #554 aka 'Dancing Dolly', the unnamed #946 and probably several others. Joe Origlio recalled having painted nose art on fighters as well but examples have not been identified at this time.
He also may have been responsible for painting the theatrical stages decorated with unit insignias and pinup girls, for entertaining the troops. This work however is undocumented. Any information about art work he may have painted on other aircraft, leather jackets or signage, etc, on the air base would be appreciated.
He was an average 'GI Joe' doing the best he could, using his natural talents to boost morale and help the war effort. After the war Joe Origlio returned to civilian life, and obtained a diploma from The Applied Art Academy in Commercial Art and Design under the GI Bill. Painting however remained only a side line, and for the rest of his life worked full time as a rubber worker for the Firestone Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio until he retired in 1979. Over the years he painted several murals, landscapes and portraits, as well as signs for his employer and banners for various local organizations. Joe died in November 1983 at the age of 61.
(Sincere thanks to John Origlio for providing the above biography of his brother Joe)
© Ray Bowden 27 January 2021