Date of Birth: 11/30/1946
Neighborhood: South Philadelphia
High School: South Philadelphia High School
Street: Jackson St.
Branch of Service: Marine Corps
Date of Casualty: 08/25/1966
Province of Casualty: Quang Tri
Philadelphia Memorial Panel: Panel 3
Panel Row: 1
Click on the memorial panel below for a printable photo of the serviceman on this page.
Bernstein played many high school sports, but his favorite activity was swimming. He was on the gymnastics team at South Philadelphia High School and worked as an upholsterer's apprentice before enlisting in .the Marine Corps in December 1963. Bernstein told family and friends he felt military service was the "right road" for him. The lance corporal had assignments as a rifleman, mess man, guard, recreation assistant, and ammunition carrier and had strong feelings about the U.S. role in Vietnam. "Don"t you supposed intellectuals believe that all this publicity and pity for these poor oppressed American youth, suffering from clean underwear, good food and a warm bed to sleep in is sort of directed to the wrong group?" He wrote in a letter to a magazine that had been critical of escalating American involvement in the war. "What about the boys - I refer to age when I say boys - over here in Vietnam being killed, and maimed for life because they have the gumption to come and fight… I can only hope that my mother never receives one of those fatal telegrams." Bernstein later returned to Vietnam for a second tour of duty, and was assigned to Company E of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He died in Quang Tan Province on August 25, 1966, at the age of 19. Joel Bernstein Post 791 of the Jewish War Veterans in Holme Circle was named in his honor. He was survived by his parents and a sister.