Born on December 7, 1922, in Atlanta, Georgia, Joel B. Paris, III, graduated from Tech High School, and attended Georgia State University before entering the Army Air Corps in 1942. Commissioned in 1943, he was assigned to the 7th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group in the Southwest Pacific where he served during World War II. First stationed in New Guinea where he flew the P-40N and later in the Philippine Islands as a P-38 Lightning pilot, he was credited with downing nine, and probably seven more, enemy planes. Captain Paris received the Silver Star for action as the leader of a flight of three P-38s escorting a PBY to the beachhead landing on Mindoro Island in the Philippines. His flight was attacked by ten Zero fighters, diving down on them from above. Paris' aircraft was hit by 20mm shells and 50-caliber fire. Several shells entered the cockpit area knocking off his headphones and damaging the cockpit glass and instrumental panel. During the ensuing fight, he shot down two enemy aircraft. The Japanese soon fled the battle.
After flying 167 combat missions, he returned to the United States and remained on active duty. He held several Georgia Air National Guard command positions, and served as Special Advisor to the Commander of the 14th Air Force for National Guard Affairs, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, and to the Commander of the Tactical Air Command. His last active duty assignment was as Special Advisor for National Guard Affairs to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Air Force Operations in the Pentagon. He retired from active duty in 1970, with the rank of Colonel. In 1971, he was appointed by Governor Jimmy Carter as Adjutant General for the State of Georgia, with the rank of Major General, where he served from 1971-1975. He retired from the Georgia Air National Guard in 1975 and resides in Alpharetta, Georgia. General Paris is credited with 5,000 hours flying a variety of aircraft, including the P-47, P-SI, F-84, T-6, C-47, B-26, T-29, T-33, and F-I00. He has received numerous military decorations (many with several Oak Leaf Clusters), including the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and Purple Heart.
For outstanding service in combat and his commitment to the role of the Air National Guard, Major General Joel B. Paris, III, was enshrined on April 20, 2002.