LTC, US Air Force, World War II, Korea, Vietnam
Henry John at 19 had completed three years of high school and was earning money working as an assistant janitor at the public school. War was looming in Europe at the time, and Henry John made a decision totally out of nature with his religious Mennonite background – he joined the Army.
I can almost imagine some of the conversations in the household before the enlistment; the elder Deutschendorf could not have been pleased. Not only was his son’s decision a major break with the Mennonite tradition, but because Henry John was intelligent, young, and strong, his help on the farm would be missed. On 30 November 1940, Henry John enlisted as a private in the Army in Oklahoma City. He stated his civilian occupation was a farmhand, and he was single without dependents. He couldn’t have known what his future held, but the sky was the limit. The military became his life.
Not long after Henry John’s enlistment, he met a Tulsa girl – Erma Louise Swope. The two fell in love, got married, and in 1943 had a son, Henry John Deutschendorf Jr.
While Henry John Sr. was growing up, technology was making huge strides. He must have seen bi-planes as a youngster on the prairie. The two wings became one, and the covering changed from cloth to shiny silver metal. Engines improved and the planes kept getting larger, flying faster and higher. The military provided Deutschendorf – who had to have excellent eyesight, intelligence, outstanding reflexes, and a knowledge of how engines worked – the opportunity to learn to fly the new planes. He became an Air Force pilot in 1947, eventually flying the B-58 Hustler faster than the speed of sound. A highlight of his career came on 12 January 1961 when he and his crew set six world speed records.
- Record Click, professional genealogist
The Oklahoma-born oldest of 12 children, the senior Deutschendorf enlisted in the Army Air Corps at 20. He quickly proved himself such a gifted natural pilot that he spent most of World War II as a flight instructor on B-17s and B-29s. When he retired as a colonel from the Air Force in 1966, “Dutch” Deutschendorf could boast an Air Medal, a Distinguished Flying Cross, and air speed records while test flying the B-58 Hustler. But he could not claim to have a close relationship with his younger son.
In John Denver’s biography, Col. Deutschendorf comes across a bit like “The Great Santini.” In his son’s telling, the decorated flier was a hard-drinking and emotionally remote man. His son was a sensitive fellow whose preferred activity was strumming on the acoustic guitar given him by his maternal grandmother at age 11.
- Carl M. Cannon, Washington Bureau Chief, RealClearPolitics
Fort Logan National Cemetery,
Denver, Denver County, Colorado
Plot: Section S, Lot 5118
http://www.recordclick.com/john-denvers-genealogy-country-road-leads-to-oklahoma-not-colorado/ - Record Click, professional genealogist
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/newsletters/rcp_morning_note/2013/12/31/ - Carl M. Cannon, Washington Bureau Chief, RealClearPolitics
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On 2 Jan 2018 at 21:24 GMT Steve Kliewer wrote: