After his return to the U.S. in May 1941, Healy joined the Army Air Corps. He served in Greenland under the command of famed polar explorer/pilot Lt. Col. Bernt Balchen. Healy participated in several search and rescue missions, including the rescue of twenty men from the B-17, “My Gal Sal.” (The plane, incredibally, was recovered in 1964 and restored. It is in the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA. It is one of only 3 B17E's in existance. Airplane history) The National Museum of the US Air Force has an article which mentions Joe and Col Balchen.
By the end of the war, Healy had earned the rank of master sergeant.
I thought you might like this picture of your son that I got while in Greenland. He’s a swell fellow.
We are both dog men. He likes it up there and I guess will stay for the duration.
Sgt. Carl L Wheeler
Rinsky?Judie labeled this "Rinsky catching a fish"
Camp Swift, Texas
Rinsky, Sled Dog That Rescued Flyers on Ice Cap, Dies in Greenland
SOMEWHERE IN GREENLAND -- It was a sad day for M/Sgt. Joe Healy of Dorchester, Mass. Rinsky, his snow-white lead dog, was dead.
For three years, Rinsky and Healy had been constant companions. The dog was born in Little America, close to the South Pole, where Healy was stationed as a member of Rear Adm. Richard E. Byrd's Expedition When Healy went north, so did Rinsky.. Before he was a year old, the flop-eared pup had crossed both the Antarctic and the Arctic Circles by plane.
Early in the spring of 1943, led a crack dog team across Greenland's bleak ice cap in a successful rescue of the crew of a plane that had cracked up five months before.
By-passing dangerous crevasses and plowing over vast furrowed snow fields on the windswept cap, Healy and his dogs saved several lives. For his part in the rescue work, the sergeant was awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Soldier's Medal. Rinsky was content with a friendly cuffing around from Healy and a couple of extra helpings of meat from the mess hall.
Healy, who is still busy with his dogs, misses the way Rinsky used to engineer the team, the way he used to throw his head over his shoulder, emit a growl from deep in his chest and ram forward into the harness.
But Healy is not without consolation. In September, before Rinsky died of a twisted intestine, five little Rinskys, all snow-white, flop eared pups, were born. If even one proves as good as his father, Healy will be satisfied.
-Sgt. ED O'MEARA
YANK FieId Correspondent
Yank Down Under Feb 4 1944, Volume 1 No. 47
Photos of a pup of Rinsky's back in Massachusetts
"The Soldier's Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy."
Oak Leaf Cluster, a bronze twig of four oak leaves with three acorns on each stem is worn to denote award of second and succeeding awards of decorations.