Influences and experiences during John Stemple’s youth engendered a love of aviation and all things nautical. John was born in the city touted as “The Birthplace of Aviation” and early on he developed a fascination about and love of flying because the local citizenry cherished the legacies of the famous powered flight pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright. In the mid 1960s an airplane ride arranged by George “Sky King” Vaughn represented John’s first trip to the clouds.
Mr. Stemple vividly recalls cruising the waters of Lake Erie around Put-in-Bay and Pelee, Ontario during summertime excursions aboard a Sea Cadets boat. Impressionable young John mentally pictured the majestic Royal Navy sloops-of-war HMS Queen Charlotte and HMS Detroit and the U.S. Navy snows USS Niagara and USS Lawrence with their associated squadrons during the bitter September 1813 Battle of Put-in-Bay (aka “Battle of Lake Erie”). From the deck of the small craft he watched commercial Ford Tri-Motors and general aviation aircraft transiting to and from island airports and Coast Guard cutters on patrol. To the child it was all fascinating.
Also influential was the fact that the Stemple residence was near a major air force base and jets passed overhead, some causing sonic booms, daily.
John’s father was employed at nearby Gentile Air Force Station, a military supply depot named after legendary Ohioan Don Gentile. In the early years of the Second World War, before the United States officially entered the conflict, Gentile had crossed the border and enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). He soon transferred to the Royal Air Force (RAF) and became an Eagle Squadron pilot and subsequently a U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) ace. A few years later, while training to earn aircraft maintenance technician ratings, Mr. Stemple was regaled with an instructor’s recollections of Don Gentile flying a North American Mustang fighter around Piqua, Ohio.
Thus, Mr. Stemple, still only a teenager, had become engrossed with the aeroplanes and vessels of the Canadian, British, and U.S. armed forces and the respective countries’ coast guard services.
After John obtained the applicable Federal Aviation Administration licenses he attended university and earned three (Aviation Administration, Management of Human Resources and Community Leadership) academic degrees.
Mr. Stemple joined the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary/Civil Air Patrol in 1998 as an Aerospace Education Member. He eventually undertook flying training and earned aviator wings. Additionally, John completed two years of full-time domestic national service and has periodically undertaken voluntary, short-term, uniformed labor commitments on overseas military bases.
John T. Stemple’s “family tree” contains one branch that originates with King Robert II (Queen Elizabeth II’s 17th great-grandfather) of Scotland. In honor of these familial roots John frequently writes about military aviation history related to the United Kingdom and Commonwealth and former British colonies, protectorates and Israel (which was previously under the British Mandate for Palestine). Scientific genealogical DNA testing and analysis revealed that John additionally possesses multiple Native American (U.S.) and First Nations (Canada) ancestries. Therefore, Mr. Stemple also enjoys writing about Native American and First Nations aviators.
As a supplement to above referenced photojournalism, John Stemple actively promotes the public recognition RCAF-Americans and RAF-Americans. In fact, John was a principal organizer and sponsor of ceremonies held in January 2016 to belatedly pay homage to those Floridians who voluntarily served in the RCAF and RAF during the Second World War. More recently, in 2017, he, in conjunction with Bomber Command Museum of Canada, ensured that RCAF-Coloradans received recognition by arranging for their induction into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame. Memorial plaques he designed and obtained for the Florida and Colorado initiatives are on indefinite display inside the Winter Haven Municipal Airport terminal and Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver.
John T. Stemple, a Commemorative Air Force “colonel” and commissioned member of the Honorary Order of Kentucky Colonels, serves Military Aviation Chronicles as editor and additionally contributes in the capacities of historian, photojournalist, and camera plane pilot.
You may contact John Stemple via the following e-mail address: MilitaryAviationChronicles@Gmail.com