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John F. Welch

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Colonel John F. Welch, USAF (ret.) “graduated as an Army Air Force 2nd Lieutenant, Pilot in February, 1944. He joined the Eight Air Force and flew thirty-five bombing missions in B-17's over Germany, earning the Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters and other decorations. John returned stateside and joined the Air Transport Command, where he ferried airplanes, attended Instrument Instructor's School and instructed other Air Force pilots in instrument flying. John was placed in the active reserve in November of 1946 and returned to Kansas State College. He married Alberta Doege on September 7, 1948 and they graduated together in May, 1950.


Colonel John F. Welch earned degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration. He was employed by Beech Aircraft for eight months before being recalled to Active Duty in the Air Force. He was assigned to the Rapid City Air Base where his duties included serving as a Maintenance Officer and a C-47, RB-36 and B-52 pilot. John spent nearly nine years in Rapid City before being sent with his B-52 crew to Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas in January, 1960.


Colonel John F. Welch earned his Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. He was then assigned to the B-58 System Program Office for four years as a Research & Development Engineer. In the spring of 1966, Lt. Col. John Welch was sent to Viet Nam to serve a year as the Air Liaison Officer with the 22nd Division of the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam. He commanded Forward Air Controllers, and also flew aerial reconnaissance and directed air strikes. During this year, John flew the 0-1 Bird Dog nearly 1,000 hours and added 15 Oak Leaf Clusters to his Air Medal. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Legion of Merit as well as a number of Vietnamese decorations.” (Rapid City, SD)


Colonel John F. Welch is the author of Rb-36 Days at Rapid City: Rapid City Free Style; Flight Instructor's Pocket Companion;, My Year in Viet Nam and,  Flight Instructor's Pocket Companion.  He is a co-author of the sixth edition of Van Sickle's Modern Airmanship.  And, the editor of Dead Engine Kids : World War II Diary of John J. Briol, B-17 Ball Turret Gunner


According to the book description of Flight Instructor's Pocket Companion, “Hone your teaching skills, power-up your expertise, and turn out better, safer pilots with this long-awaited expert guide to effective flight instruction. It thoroughly covers beginning flight instruction, advanced flight instruction, and instrument instruction. Drawn from years of flight training experience, it gives you complete lessons in flying essentials, coverage of all important maneuvers; powerful tools for teachning technical knowledge; help with teaching stall and other emergency procedures; a wealth of point-making examples and case histories; and much, much more. There's no other flight training manual as thorough, as authoritative, as comprehensive, or as useful as this one. For enriching, updating, expanding, and polishing your teaching style and knowledge base, this is one reference you'll turn to again and again.”


One reader of Rb-36 Days at Rapid City: Rapid City Free Style said, “My father (Lt. Col. Clarence E. Bornus) was stationed at Rapid City flying B-36's and B-52's. I enjoyed getting a glimpse of what life was like back in those days and hearing about some events my Dad may have been involved in. The book is a chronological narrative composed of individual veteran's recollections and memories of those times, from the mundane to the funny and all in between.  I sure wish my Dad had written a chronicle of some of his experiences. But since he didn't, this is the next best thing.”

Flight Instructor's Pocket Companion
John F. Welch  More Info

Dead Engine Kids : World War II Diary of John J. Briol, B-17 Ball Turret Gunner
John J. Briol  More Info

Van Sickle's Modern Airmanship
John F. Welch  More Info
Rb-36 Days at Rapid City: Rapid City Free Style
John F. Welch  More Info
My Year in Viet Nam
John F. Welch  More Info

Colonel John F. Welch said of Dead Engine Kids : World War II Diary of John J. Briol, B-17 Ball Turret Gunner, “I was the original Copilot on Lauren Spleth's B-17 crew, on which John Briol was the Ball Turret Gunner. We trained as a crew in Florida and Virginia, then joined the Eighth Air Force's 457th Bomb Group, with whom we flew our 35 missions, beginning September 12, 1944. In violation of regulations, John kept a diary, which he brought home sewed in the lining of his Army field jacket. Some years after John's death, his son brought the diary to my attention. After reading it, I concluded it should be published. I added comments of other crew members and my own, and persuaded two ladies, residents of Berlin at the time of our last mission, to write about how it was to be bombed. I combined all these inputs into the diary, served as editor, and self published DEAD ENGINE KIDS in 1993. Our crew name, and the name of the book, came from our crew's record of failed and shot out engines. It took only one mission, our first one, to convert us from young kids to grown men. Even now, when Î open the book and begin to read, it's as if it all happened yesterday, and I'm scared all over again.”


The MOAA said of My Year in Viet Nam, “This book tells the story of Lt. Col. John Welch’s year in Vietnam and how he came to love and admire the true patriots the Vietnamese people were. As a forward air controller and air liaison officer to the 22nd Infantry Division of the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam, his job required daily flights over the jungles and rice paddies, doing visual reconnaissance and directing allied fighter strikes again Communist groups and positions.”


According to the book description of Van Sickle's Modern Airmanship, “The ultimate and standard aviation encyclopedia for 43 years. Modern Airmanship covers every subject from aerodynamics, to emergency and survival techniques, to airplane and aerospace structures. It is also the preeminent "how-to" source for all aviation professionals. The Eight Edition, lavishly illustrated, includes the latest information on federal regulations and technical advances. From the theory of flight, airplane and aerospace structures to high performance aircraft and weather, this book covers every topic related to the aviation industry.”

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