Joseph Rosbert was born on January 19, 1917 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Catholic grammar and high schools where his scholastic achievement earned him a scholarship to Villanova College, from which he graduated cum laude in 1938 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.

He joined the U.S. Navy in 1938, applied for and received flight training, and was assigned to fly Consolidated PBY-1 Catalina aircraft. Although having no training in fighter aircraft, Rosbert joined General Chennault’s Flying Tigers also known as the American Volunteer Group (AVG). While flying with the AVG he was credited with shooting down six Japanese aircraft and received two Chinese decorations.

After the AVG disbanded, Rosbert signed up with the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) flying cargo planes from India to China over the Himalayas - also known as "Flying Over the Hump” - to support the Chinese Nationals in their fight against the communists. During one of these missions, Joe Rosbert crashed into a mountain at 14,000 feet near the Tibetan border. Although Rosbert suffered a broken ankle, he and the other survivor managed to make it down the mountain to a local village and find transportation, arriving back at their original destination 47 days later.

In 1947, Rosbert joined Civil Air Transport (CAT) after serving a short time with the Flying Tiger Airlines. It was also in 1947 that he met his wife Lydia K. "Lil," née Platon. Within a year, he moved up to Chief of Operations. Rosbert was promoted to Director of Operations in January of 1948, Acting Vice-President and Assistant General Manager (VPAGM) in September of 1952, then assumed the position of VPAGM in January of 1953.

Recent Submissions

  • Guide to the Joe Rosbert Papers 

    Seufert, Kelly (2013-05-17)
    Joe Rosbert served in various managerial positions within Civil Air Transport (CAT) after World War II starting in 1947. CAT aided the Chinese National government with supplies and ammunition during the Chinese Civil War ...