John Francis Koplitz
was born in Morristown, New Jersey October 13, 1917. Son of Matilda
Goldbach and Edward B. Koplitz.
A graduate of local schools, he
began studying music at the age of 12. After two years with the clarinet
he took up the saxophone and later changed to the bass violin and then
the piano. He attended St. Vincent's School and Madison
High School where he was quite a popular boy, known for his ability
as a musical organizer and conductor. He could compose and arrange as well
as lead an orchestra. His 1936 high school yearbook
stated, "How, oh how, will football ever manage to scrape along next
year without Johnny's touchdowns! He has that rare and much-sought-after
ability of being able to conduct an orchestra. In a few years, we truly
believe the world will be listening to Johnny and his orchestra over the
air." After graduating he continued his
education at Newark Academy where he really made a name for himself playing
football. John also attended The Roselle School of Music at Roselle, NJ.
Johnny then formed his own orchestra
and traveled the NE playing at dance
halls and clubs.
In October 1940, He
joined the RCAF and served as a Fighter Pilot in England and North Africa.
During the war he flew for three countries. ( RCAF, RAF and AAF ).
Bomber Pilot, Two Engine (1022)
Fighter Pilot, Single Engine
Flight Control Officer (2159)
Piloted various aircraft under varying weather conditions and such
hazards as rain, fog, low ceilings and night flying. (not to mention the
WAR) Amassed total of 975 hours flying time in AT6,
B-25, BT-13, Hurricane,
Spitfire, P-40, P-51,
FW-190, and ME-109 type
aircraft. Flew 14 combat missions in the European Theater of Operations
as pilot of B-25 Aircraft. Performed duties as Pilot Instructor for 18
months. Amassed 250 Hours flying time as Pilot Instructor. Performed duties
as Assistant Operations Officer of an Air Force Squadron. RELATED
CIVILIAN OCCUPATION, Commercial Pilot, Flying Instructor, Personnel Manager.
FLIGHT CONTROL OFFICER:
Assigned duties at an Emergency Rescue Control Center. Gave assistance
to all aircraft in distress. Gave instructions to pilots in event of emergencies.
Directed air search for missing aircraft and airplane crashes. Assisted
in location of lost aircraft by alerting communication stations.
RELATED CIVILIAN OCCUPATION, Airport
Control Tower Operator, Air Traffic Manager.
RCAF Initial Training School, Quebec, Preflight Training.
RCAF Elementary Flying Training
School, Elementary Pilot Training.
RCAF Service Flying School, Prince
Edward Island, Advanced Pilot Training.
Served for 2.5 years with RAF and RCAF as a Pilot Officer appointed
by the King. Served overseas in the European Theater for 2 years.
Flew 78 combat missions as Fighter Pilot of the RAF on patrol, interception
and escort missions. Acted as test pilot on Spitfire Aircraft. Received
a field commission during the desert campaign. Transferred to United States
Air Force in Cairo Egypt, May 1943. After rotation to the states was reassigned
as a Fighter Pilot Instructor, Sarasota Army Air Base, Sarasota Fl. Awarded
British Service Medal. Member American Federation Musicians. Holds Commercial
Pilot License (0-4500 Horsepower) from CAA.
AAF DECORATIONS AND CITATIONS:
Air Medal GO 39 HQ 12 AF - 23 Oct. 1943 and two Oak Leaf Clusters. EAME
Theater Ribbon, American Theater Ribbon, American Defense Ribbon, and the
Bronze Service Star, World War 2 Victory Medal.
Images of AAF Service Records(Warning; large files 100 KB+) Army of the United States, Separation
Qualification Record, Page 1 Army of the United States, Separation
Qualification Record, Page 2 Army of the United States, Military
Record and Report of Separation, Certificate of Service
While in the RCAF he organized a five
man all soldier band in North Africa, and each night they serenaded the
crowded pilot's mess with their music. Two other fighter pilots, a fitter
and a motor mechanic made up the musical organization, with Johnny not
only wielding the the baton, but singing, too. He also wrote several songs,
among them "Tune Up Your Heart Strings" "I Thought," and "They Took You
To A Star"
Special thanks to my beautiful
wife "Jamie" for all her hard work.
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