John James Voll
Class of 1940
2000 Hall of Fame
John James Voll, son of John (1894-1940) and Alma May Schmidt Voll (1902-1985), was born May 3, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1930, when John was 7, the family lived in a rented home, in District 442, Seventh Ward, Block 9, Central Parkway, Elm Street area of downtown Cincinnati, OH. John had a brother, Richard, age 6, a sister, Dorothy C., age 4, and a sister, Elvira M., age 2. His grandparents, Jacob and Bena Voll lived in the McMicken, Findlay, and Elm Street area, ward 13, precinct b.
John’s father had been a WWI Army soldier, enlisting March 24, 1918. He was honorably discharged May 29, 1919. In 1921, his parents were married. In the 1940 census, taken on April 5, 1940, Alma, John’s mother was living at and working, 48 hours per week, as an attendant at the Hamilton County Tuberculosis Hospital, later called Dunham Hospital. The Goshen 1940 census was taken on May 2, 1940 and it reveals that John James, age 18, Richard, 16, Dorothy, 13 and Elvira, 11 all lived as lodgers on Goshen-Newtonsville Road, at the home of Richard and Nonnie Irwin, farmers. It is uncertain why or when they moved in with the Irwin family. On September 11, 1940, John’s father died and is buried in the Vine Street Hill Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.
John and his siblings all attended Goshen School. John graduated that spring with the Class of 1940. In 1943, John entered Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio as a freshman. The 1943 edition of the Miami Recensio pictures John was a member of the Miami freshman football team with Coach William "Blue"Foster, Merlin A. Ditmer, and trainer Jay Colville, but John is not found in the 1944 Miami Recensio yearbook. In fact, almost no male students are in the 1944 classes at Miami because most of them had volunteered or been drafted to serve in World War II .
John, like most of the other Miami males was greatly affected by the war efforts. He enlisted in the Air Corps Reserve on August 5, 1942, and finally began Aviation Cadet training on March 8, 1943. It is not clear if he dropped out of classes at Miami at that time or not. After training, he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Army Air Forces and awarded his pilot wings on January 7, 1944.January 1944, he was assigned to the 31st Fighter Group (FG). After completing P-47 Thunderbolt training, he was assigned to the 308th Fighter Squadron of the 31st Fighter Group in the Mediterranean Theater, where he started flying combat missions in May 1944. As Lieutenant Voll arrived in Italy, in the spring of 1944, the veteran pilots of the 31 FG were skeptically transitioning from their beloved British Spitfires to the North American P-51B. John, a 21-year-old rookie, combined his skills with the capabilities of the P-51 to convince the veterans that the new Mustang was a superior fighter.
Captain Voll was credited with destroying 21 enemy aircraft in aerial combat between June and November 1944.Flying a P-51D named "American Beauty," his final victories occurred during a spectacular, individual effort. While leading an escort mission to Munich on November 16, 1944, Captain Voll experienced electrical problems and left the formation. As he returned alone, he spotted a single Ju-88 over Udine, Italy. Chasing the German aircraft as it attempted to return to its base, Voll was suddenly jumped by twelve Me-109s and FW-190s. He quickly dispatched the Ju-88 and turned into the enemy fighters.
In a swirling, 5-minute battle, John destroyed two FW-190s, one Me-109, had two probables, and two damaged. This was such an impressive feat of courage and stamina, but John’s commander feared thattime was against him and decided that this would be his last combat mission. So John was sent to China as a headquarters staff officer in the China-American Composite Wing. He was the third highest scoring Mustang ace of the war, and the top U.S.A.A.F. ace of the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations, with 21 victories.
After returning to the states, he served in the Pacific Theater before leaving active duty on November 13, 1945, just three days shy of the one year anniversary of his infamous air battle. Following his discharge, John returned home. In the fall of 1946, he returned to his alma mater and was hired as a Goshen High School science teacher. He taught two years before being recalled to active duty on October 26, 1948.
On January 8, 1949, John married, Joan Marguerite Koch, from Blanchester, Ohio. Joan was born January 3, 1933 in Lynchburg, Ohio. John served with the 3525th Pilot Training Wing at Williams AFB, Arizona, until October 1949. He was then transferred to the 66th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.
He served with the 66th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, until October 1951, and then he was assigned to the 1002nd Inspector General Group at Norton AFB, California, where he served as a Power Plant Specialist and Inspector until August 1954. While there he attended Air Command and Staff College, graduating in June 1955. Voll then served with Air Defense Command at Hamilton AFB, California, from July 1955 to November 1958. He received an undergraduate degree from San Francisco State College in 1957. A new assignment took him to the Air Force Advisory Group at Kimpo AB, South Korea, where he remained until November 1960. From November 1960 to October 1961, Voll served with the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cannon AFB, New Mexico. He then served as the Commander of the 522nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, also at Cannon, from October 1961 to July 1962, and then he was assigned as an Operations Staff Officer for the 832nd Air Division at Cannon.
His next assignment was with Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia, where he served from October 1962 to August 1964. He received a master’s in management from George Washington University in 1964.
John then attended Naval Warfare School at Newport, Rhode Island, graduating in June 1965. From July 1965 to June 1966, he went through air Attaché training and was assigned as Air Attaché to Singapore from June 1966 to July 1968. Colonel Voll served as the Chief of the Plans Division for the 6250th Support Squadron at Tan Son Nhut AB in the Republic of Vietnam from July 1968 to August 1969.
He completed Armed Forces Staff College, graduating in June 1970 and received his final assignment as commander of the 77th Aeronautical Systems Wing at McClellan AFB, California. This assignment lasted from October 1973 until his retirement from the Air Force on July 31, 1974. John had 32 years of military service.
John Voll’s valor earned him the Distinguished Service Cross…
. "The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to John J. Voll (0-705511), Captain (Air Corps), U.S. Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-51 Fighter Airplane in the 308th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Group, FIFTEENTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces on 16 November 1944, in the European Theater of Operations. After destroying a JU 88 in the Udine area, Captain Voll was jumped by a dozen enemy fighters. Despite being heavily outnumbered, he remained in the fight, shooting down four more enemy to become an ace in a day. Captain Voll's unquestionable valor in aerial combat is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 15th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces."
Headquarters: European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army, General Orders No. 61 (1944)
Home Town: Goshen, Ohio
John was also awarded the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Clusters
"Captain (Air Corps) John J. Voll (ASN: 0-705511), United States Army Air Forces, was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with the FIFTEENTH Air Force in the Mediterranean Theater of Action during World War II."
And he was awarded the Air Medal with 26 Oak Leaf Clusters.
John and Joan Voll had 2 children. After retiring, they lived at 23 Lois Lane, Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. John died in Lexington, Mass. on September 12, 1987, age 65, and is buried at the Massachusetts Veterans Administration National Cemetery, Connery Avenue, Bourne, Massachusetts, Section 9 Site 727. His wife, Joan died on July 28, 1999 and is buried with John.
John Voll, Goshen High School Class of 1940. Thank you for your heroism and dedication to this country. We are proud to honor you in the Goshen High School Hall of Fame.
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