Joseph A. “Tony” Whitmore
Lifelong Simmesport resident Joseph “Tony” Whitmore was born on December 20, 1940. He graduated from Simmesport High School in 1958, but did not join the Army until March of 1959. He was sent to basic training at Fort Chafee, Arkansas and then to Fort McLellan in Alabama. After a stay at Fort Ord in Monterey, California, Tony was assigned to the 557th Quartermaster Company stationed in Evreau, France. While in France, Whitmore joined the Evreux-Fauville Sky-Diving club since he was a certified paratrooper and rigger. Joseph was stationed there during the tense times of the Berlin Crisis, when the Russians erected the wall around East Berlin. Tony recounted stories of many (then secret) missions air dropping supplies by parachute into communist-occupied East Berlin. He would also often recount the frightening tank standoff at Checkpoint Charlie in October of 1961.
Joseph was honorably discharged from service in March of 1962 having attained the rank of Sergeant E-5. He returned home to Simmesport and was nearly called up again for active service in October of 1963. He married Juanita Moulard, his wife of over 40 years, and together they raised five children in Simmesport, James, Rene, Eric, Mark and Michelle. His son Mark and grandson Jacob also served in the U.S. Army. Tony, as people in Simmesport knew him, was a nickname given to him by his father, Wiley Whitmore.
In the early 1970’s he was hired by the Louisiana Department of public safety working at the State Police barracks. His knack for finding escaped inmates led Joe, as he was called in State Police circles, to be asked to join the first Louisiana State Police intelligence unit. There he spent over 30 years as an investigator working many high-profile cases such as organized crime’s infiltration into Louisiana casino gambling, church burnings, serial killers and political crimes among others. Tony also spent time working with the FBI on anti-terrorism efforts and became deputized by the Bureau gaining one of the FBI’s highest security clearances. He became known throughout the State Police and around the country for his meticulous attention to detail and prolific report writing. Mr. Joe, as most everyone in the State Police called him, became a legend in the Louisiana State Police. He worked with the City of New York’s organized crime unit extensively in the early 1990’s.
After retiring from the State Police, Tony took a job as an investigator with the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Department, a position he held until he died in 2014. Tony Whitmore never wanted to live anywhere else but in Simmesport and often claimed that the Army taught him everything he needed to prepare for life. The Town of Simmesport would like to pay tribute to this soldier’s story as the first in a series of brave men and women who served their country with honor.