Joseph LaMonte Zundell was born in Logan, Utah, on 13 November 1905, son of Mr. Joseph M. Zundell and the late Katherine Bench Zundell. He attended Logan High School, 1920-24, the University of Utah, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1928, and Northwestern University Medical School in Evanston, Illinois, where he received the Doctor of Medicine degree in 1932.
He was commissioned Lieutenant, junior grade, in the US Navy Medical Corps on 8 June 1931, and by subsequent promotions attained the rank of Captain to date from 25 March 1945. He was transferred to the Retired List of the Navy on 1 April 1952 due to permanent disability, and was advanced in rank to Rear Admiral on the basis of combat awards.
He was ordered to the Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, New York, for his internship, and served from 27 June 1931 for three years. In August 1934 he was ordered to USS Arkansas, and when detached in May 1936 he attended postgraduate courses in Histo-pathology at Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota.
From May 1937 to January 1940 he had duty at the Naval Hospital, Chelsea, Massachusetts, and the next month assumed duty at the Naval Hospital, Canacao, Philippine Islands, serving until May 1941, when he transferred to the submarine tender Canopus, which was anchored off Cavite, but then took up position in the Port Area of Manila in shallow water and camouflaged. By the end of the year she had to change base to the southern tip of Bataan peninsula in Marivelles Bay. The four months of defensive maneuvers that followed before the capitulation of Corregidor were filled with incredibly arduous labors to save the ship and contribute to holding Bataan.
Finally Canopus was readied to be scuttled by her own crew, who later were integrated with the Fourth Marines and Army units n Corregidor. Doctor Zundell was taken prisoner of war and was held until liberated in February 1945. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat distinguishing device, V, Gold Star in lieu of a second Bronze Star Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation. The citations in part follow:
Bronze Star Medal with Combat V:
“For meritorious achievement as Medical Officer in charge of the Navy’s emergency battle dressing station and field hospital on Corregidor, P.I., from 9 January to 6 May 1942. Despite his improvised hospital and inadequate equipment, (he) planned, organized and maintained his facility at maximum efficiency for the reception and treatment of Navy and Marine Corps sick and wounded personnel from a vessel of the Inshore Patrol and Beach Defense position. Under enemy bombing attacks and artillery fire, he sponsored the search for and evacuation of wounded personnel, and throughout this period contributed to saving the lives of many of our men. . . “
Gold Star in lieu of second Bronze Star Medal: “. . .as Medical Officer on the Staff of the United States Naval Hospital while interned at Bilibid Prison, Manila, Philippine Islands, from 2 July 1942, to 30 October 1944. Arriving at Bilibid where thousands of Filipino and American prisoners, most of whom were in urgent need of medical attention and crowded into the walls of this notorious prison, (he) volunteered for the staff of the hospital and was given charge of a ward. . . although his own health had been impaired by previous privations and hardships and by pernicious malaria contracted on Bataan… By his skillful and untiring efforts and the many hours spent each day in close association with his patients, he encouraged them and instilled in them the will to live, demonstrating great skill as a physician. Later, as other medical officers became incapacitated by illness and it was necessary for him to take over in succession as Chief of the Medical Service, Officer in Charge of the Laboratory and Officer in Charge of Sanitation, he discharged all these duties in an efficient and highly satisfactory manner and despite the fact that he was subjected to slow starvation, was suffering from malaria and in jeopardy of his life. . . .”
After returning to the United States, he had leave until September 1945, when he was ordered to the Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, for duty at the Naval Medical School until June 1947. The next year he was at Mayo Foundation in Rochester, Minnesota, and in July 1948 he reported in the Naval Hospital, Long Beach, California, where he served a two year tour, followed by duty at the Naval Hospital, Oakland, California, from June 1950 until he was relieved of active duty and transferred to the Retired List of the Navy on 1 April 1952.
In addition to the Bronze Star Medal and Gold Star with Combat and the Ribbon for the Presidential Unit Citation, Rear Admiral Zundell had the American Defense Medal; Philippine Defense Ribbon: Philippine Liberation Ribbon, American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; and World War II Victory Medal.
He was a member of the American Medical Association; American College of Physicians; and American Society of Clinical Pathologists.
Rear Admiral Zundell and his wife, the former Mary Anne Deltor of Marietta, Ohio, resided in California. He died on 7 July 1968 and is buried in San Francisco National Cemetery.