Joseph Bacon Fraser Jr. was an officer in the U.S. Army during World War I, and an officer in the Georgia National Guard from 1920 to World War II. He was ordered to federal active duty as a colonel in 1941. He commanded the 101st Coast Artillery Battalion (Anti-Aircraft) in the Pacific Theater of Operations from 1942 to 1943 during World War II. He commanded the 23rd Anti-Aircraft Group in the European Theater of Operations from 1944 to the end of World War II.
He returned to duty with the Georgia National Guard, and was promoted to the rank of brigadier general on February 3, 1947, and placed in command of the 108th Anti-Aircraft Brigade, Georgia National Guard, with headquarters at Savannah, Georgia. He was promoted to the rank of major general in 1950 and commanded the 48th Infantry Division, composed of Georgia and Florida National Guard units. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general when he retired from the Georgia National Guard on August 1, 1956. He was one of the early developers of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and chairman of the board of governors of the Sea Pines Plantation Company.