Joseph Burns was citizen of the United States, and an senior NCO in the United States Air Force. He was described as too looking a lot like Buster Keaton.

In 1954, Burns held the rank of Master Sergeant, and he was the chief engineer of the Vixen 03. He died when the Vixen 03 crashed soon after taking off from NAS Buckley. In 1988, his body was discovered in the sunken wreck of the Vixen 03 by a NUMA expedition led by Dirk Pitt in Table Lake, Colorado