Joseph Dunlap Mountain was born on October 24, 1902 in Cherryvale, Kansas. He joined the U.S. Army Air Service in 1919; he was awarded his wings and commissioned a second lieutenant in 1921. Mountain continued to fly after leaving the Air Service and also took up photography.
In 1928, Mountain was employed by the Continental Air Map Company in the aerial mapping of the state of California. In 1934-1935, he served as a pilot, aerial photographer, darkroom technician and mechanic for the California-Arabian Standard Oil Company (CASOC; in 1944 renamed the Arabian American Oil Company --Aramco, now Saudi Aramco) expedition to Saudi Arabia; Mountain logged over 221 hours of reconnaissance and mapping flights for CASOC. In 1936-1937, Mountain contracted with the Saudi Arabia Mining Syndicate to make an aerial survey of the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia.
From 1937-1947, Mountain was a pilot for Trans World Airlines. During World War II, Mountain returned to active duty with the U.S. Army Air Forces as a training officer in the Air Transport Command. He was awarded the Bronze Star while serving in the China-Burma-India Theater and supervising supply missions over "The Hump" --the dangerous air route over the Himalaya Range. In 1945 he was promoted to full Colonel and appointed executive officer of the Committee for Air Navigation and Traffic Control.
In 1947, Mountain entered the computer industry with International Telephone and Telegraph. Later, he founded Mountain Systems, a digital computer manufacturing company, and Mountain Datasystem, a data processing firm. During the Korean War, he served as an Air Force liaison officer with the Bell Telephone Laboratories. After the war, he returned to civilian life and continued to work in the computer industry. Joseph Mountain died on November 25, 1970 at the age of 68.