Author Archives: jenorv

About jenorv

John E. Norvell is a retired Air Force Lt Colonel, decorated air combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and former Assistant Professor of American and Military History at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has written freelance for the Washington Post, the Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, and for several newspapers around the country.

Every year Santa came until 2015

Since 1971, Santa Claus has come to my house.   That was the first year that a 12 inch-tall standup Christmas card of Santa, holding a pipe with a heart applique in the billowing smoke, arrived in the mail. It … Continue reading

Posted in Air Force, Alaska, American History, American holidays, Anchorage Alaska, Christmas, Christmas Card traditions, Christmas Cards sent back and forth, Family History, Norvell Family History, Social History | 2 Comments

When Johnny Comes Marching….

Popular music has often served as a useful mirror of our perception of veterans since the founding of the republic. The Civil War resonated with songs that were meant to support the war effort and the Union. As the success … Continue reading

Posted in Air Force, American History, Military history, Union Army, US Army, US Army Air Corps, US Navy, Veterans, Vietnam Memorial, Vietnam War, World War Ii | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Speech Given at the First Annual Veterans Dinner at Finger Lakes Community College

Remarks by  Lt Col John E. Norvell (USAF Ret.)  November 10, 2017 President Nye, Dr. Pierce, ladies and gentleman and members of the College community,  thank you for inviting me to speak tonight. As a former history professor I routinely … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, 43 TFS, Air Force, American History, Bolling AFB, F-4 Phantom II, F4 Phantom II, F4 PhantomII, Family History, Fighter Aircraft, Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, New York State History, Norvell Family History, Ontario Co, Thailand, U Dorn RTAFB, Udorn RTAFB, Veterans, Vietnam War | Tagged , | 2 Comments

At the Wall

Originally posted on An American Family:
In the 1980s we moved to the Washington DC area and lived there nearly 9 years. It was almost inevitable that I would visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, also known as “The Wall.”  One…

Posted in American History | 2 Comments

Scenes from the Halloween House 2017

Growing up in rural upstate New York, Halloween was the biggest holiday of the year.  A small town with old brooding houses, bridges over winding creeks, and old cemeteries full of worn and leaning stones is the perfect setting for … Continue reading

Posted in American History, Halloween | Tagged , | Leave a comment

In Search of the Haunted Tombstone

Originally posted on An American Family:
? 50 years ago this October several of my friends and I went in search of a haunted tombstone. It was October 1964 and we were juniors at Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y. The…

Posted in American History | Leave a comment

The First Time I flew the F4 – 45 years ago this week

In the fall of 1972, I arrived at Luke AFB to upgrade to the backseat of the F4. I had come to this point late in life, 28 and a captain, having been a ground pounder (non-rated or non-flying officer) … Continue reading

Posted in 13 TFS, 43 TFS, Air Force, Alaska, Alaskan Air Command, American History, F-4 Phantom II, F4 Phantom II, F4 PhantomII, Luke AFB, SEA | Tagged , | 3 Comments