Lieutenant Colonel J.Y. Kinsall was born in 1910 in Carter County, Oklahoma, and enlisted in the United States Air Force (USAF, known until 1942 as the United States Army Air Corps) in 1929 at the age of 19. Kinsall dedicated his life to the military and served for over thirty years until being honorably discharged in 1958. After his discharge, Kinsall retired to Nashville and passed away in 1976.

Lt. Col. Kinsall served in both World War II and the Korean War. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which lead the United States into WWII, Kinsall was transferred to Miami Beach, Florida. He helped the United States Army Air Forces establish the Officer Candidate School (OCS), a program set up for the purpose of quickly training officers within 90 days. During the Korean War, he worked as a Director of Base Personnel at the Osan Air Base (K-55) in Pyeongtaek, South Korea and the Nagoya Air Base in Nagoya, Japan. During this time, he was in the Fifth Air Force (5 AF), part of the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) which oversees U.S. air power in the far east. During the Korean War, the 5 AF served as command and control organization for USAF forces engaged in combat. The Fifth Air Force was the main United Nations Command combat air command and assisted with the Korean Armistice Agreement, which brought about a cease of hostilities in 1953.

During Kinsall’s military career, he cultivated a passion for photography. The majority of photographs and slides in this collection document his personal and military life during the Korean War. He took photographs of his family living in Japan, landscapes in South Korea, and pictures of everyday life in Casablanca, Morocco (where he was stationed from March – December 1945). The items in this collection were a digital loan to the Library and Archives from his daughter and former Library & Archives staff member Lucinda Clair Kinsall. The collection includes photographs, slides, and insignia he was awarded throughout his service.