Richard Joyce was born on September 28, 1919, in Lincoln Nebraska. While attending the University of Nebraska, he served in the Nebraska National Guard from July 13, 1937, to June 13, 1938, and later enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Corps on July 27, 1940. Joyce was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Kelly Field, Texas, on March 15, 1941, and then served as a B-25 Mitchell pilot with the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron of the 17th Bomb Group at McChord Field, Washington, and at Pendleton Field, Oregon, from March 1941 until he was selected for the Doolittle Mission in February 1942. Lt Joyce was the pilot on the 10th B-25 to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) on April 18, 1942, and after bombing its assigned targets in Japan, the crew bailed out over China when their aircraft ran out of fuel. He remained in the China-Burma-India Theater after the raid, and served as a B-25 pilot and as a ferry pilot with the 22nd Bomb Squadron and with Headquarters 10th Air Force until returning to the United States in December 1942. His next assignment was as Assistant A-3 Officer with Headquarters III Bomber Command at MacDill Field, Florida, from January 1943 to July 1944, followed by service as Director of Training with the 357th Army Air Force Base Unit at Kellogg Field, Michigan, from July to September 1944. Maj Joyce served as Director of Training with the 381st Army Air Force Base Unit at Marianna, Florida, from September 1944 to May 1945, and then as Director of Training and Operations with the 140th Army Air Force Base Unit at Moody Field, Georgia, from May to November 1945, when he went on terminal leave. Col Joyce left active duty on March 10, 1946, and remained in the Air Force Reserve until he received an honorable discharge on May 13, 1955. Richard Joyce died on February 13, 1983, and was buried at the Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary achievement while participating in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland on April 18, 1942. Lieutenant Joyce volunteered for this mission knowing full well that the chances of survival were extremely remote, and executed his part in it with great skill and daring. This achievement reflects high credit on Lieutenant Joyce and the military service.