Navy Seabee, Vet Advocate, & Comedian, Johnny Joyce ~ HERO IN OUR MIDST, VALLEY PATRIOT OF THE MONTH

 

By: John Cuddy – 6/24

Growing up in Medford, Massachusetts with six siblings, Johnny Joyce loved baseball and the Boston Red Sox, he played in baseball’s Babe Ruth youth program. Shortly after graduating from Medford High with the Class of 1987, Johnny Joyce joined the US Navy Seabees in 1988. He completed basic training at the US Navy’s Recruit Training Command San Diego, California. He then attended Seabee Training, completing the basic class A school required for the Builder rating at US Navy Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme, California.

After completing initial Seabee training, Johnny was assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, based out of Port Hueneme, California. While working in the construction trade as a carpenter and mason, he deployed to Naval Station Rota, Spain. The base, occupied by the US Military since 1953, is on the Spanish seacoast, near Cadiz, Spain, and is the homeport of a forward deployed destroyer squadron.

He also deployed to Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, Italy. The base is near the city of Catania, where many of Lawrence’s Sicilian population immigrated from during the early 1900s. The city is located on Sicily’s east coast, facing the Ionian Sea at the base of the active volcano Mount Etna.

In late 1985, Seabees belonging to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 were repairing and installing sidewalks in the housing area at the Naval Air Station, when they uncovered a small stockpile of World War II German Luftwaffe antiaircraft ammunition. The stockpile had belonged to a Nazi antiaircraft position that had been buried during bombing raids during the Allied invasion of 1943. US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams (EOD) were called in to clear the area.

Upon his Honorable discharge from the US Navy, he attended Northeast Broadcasting school in Boston, Massachusetts, and Emerson College in Boston. While working at WZLX 100.7, a classic rock station, WMJX 106.7 adult contemporary radio station, and WTKK 1610 Sports News Radio at the same time, he started doing stand-up comedy routines at the Comedy Store and the Laugh Factory.

After the Boston Herald named Johnny Joyce Boston’s Funniest Comedian, he undertook a community service project working to support the Medford Strong Krystle Campbell Marathon, which supports the Kyrstle Campbell Scholarship Fund. Krystle Campbell was a 29-year-old Medford woman killed in the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. Speaking to Boston 25 News a couple of years ago on the charity event, “When I reached out to Krystle’s parents initially, I told them that I’d come up with an idea that would bring a lot of enthusiastic motorcycle riders together in honor of her, benefiting her and her legacy,” said John Joyce, organizer of the Medford Strong Bike Run. “

She was from Medford, Mass., as we know I am a U.S. Navy veteran, and I grew up here. I took the initiative to say how far and how long can we make a scholarship last?”

Joyce said in the past nine years, the ride has raised about $40,000 for the scholarship fund. “Every year, we bring back almost the same riders, which is amazing because when you see their faces come in and the transformation, they’re usually the same folks that come back because they enjoy doing this for such a great cause.” He went on to say, “Over 100 motorcyclists participated in this year’s ride from Medford to Gloucester and past the Krystle Campbell Peace Garden.”

Johnny was the featured entertainer at this year’s Valley Patriot Bash. Valley Patriot readers looking to book Johnny Joyce, or attend a show, simply need to go to his website JohnnyJoyceComedy.com. He has appeared throughout New England, including several Valley Patriot Scholarship Bashes.

The Valley Patriot Staff encourages our readers to take in one of his shows this summer. Johnny Joyce says with pride that he is a Seabee, a Teamster, a Veterans advocate, a comedian, the father of his son, Jack, and grandfather of his granddaughter, Emma. Modest, and easy to talk to, a tireless support of his community and our Veterans, Johnny Joyce is a “Hero in our Midst”!

The Merrimack Valley American Legion Posts ask all World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War Veterans to call (603) 518-5368 and sign up for an Honor Flight to the Memorials in Washington DC! The Valley Patriot staff ask Veterans of all eras, to go to the American Legion’s Website HERE and join the American Legion. The Legion’s mission is working with our Congress, our Nation’s Veterans, and our community, preserving our Veteran’s Benefits for future generations and serving all Veterans and their families.

John Cuddy served in the US Navy’s Construction Battalions (also known as the Seabees) after retiring from the US Navy, he earned a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in economics from the University of Massachusetts on the Lowell Campus. He has been employed in Logistics at FedEx for the last 27 years. If you know a World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War Veteran who would like their story told, please email him at John.Cuddy@Yahoo.com ◊