On This Day In Alabama History: Former U.S. Rep. Joe Starnes Began WWII Service

| January 4, 2019 @ 5:00 am

By Alabama NewsCenter Staff

Joe Starnes, who represented Alabama in Congress between tours of duty in World War I and World War II, began serving as colonel in the European theater as a special assistant to Gen. Lucius D. Clay. He continued in that role until World War II ended in May 1945. Starnes, a native of Guntersville, served in World War I as an Army second lieutenant in the 53rd Infantry Regiment of the Sixth Division fighting in France. After that war, he became a lawyer and was elected to Congress in 1934 from the 5th District. As a congressman for 10 years, he supported President Roosevelt’s New Deal social and economic programs, while also gaining a reputation as a virulent racist and an opponent of labor unions. When he lost the election in 1944, Starnes re-enlisted in the Army. After serving with occupation forces in Japan, he returned to his law practice. Starnes died in 1962.

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