John William Simeroth
John Simeroth graduated from high school in Lexington, Oklahoma. His family moved to Porum, Oklahoma in 1940. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corp in 1942 during World War II. He was awarded a Purple Heart and Oak Leaf Cluster and was discharged in 1945. He later became an Air Force Reservist and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During this time, he was the navigator on a B-29 Bomber that was on a scientific mission to study variations in solar radiation with an altitude, as part of the upper Air Research Project. They were making runs from as low an altitude as possible up to 30,000 feet. They were flying over Lake Mead in Nevada at 300 feet. Due to an incorrectly set altimeter and reflections from the sun, they crashed into the lake at nearly 250 mph. The plane was intact but without 3 engines, and the crew was able to get out before it sank. Many years later John was helpful in location the bomber at the bottom of the lake.
John attended Connors State College on the GI Bill and graduated in 1948 with the highest grade point average of anyone who had attended Connors at that time. He was instrumental in encouraging his brothers and sisters to attend Connors and helped classmates with their studies. Six brothers and sisters graduated from Connors. He then decided to move to Washington D.C., and received his Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University. He was employed by the US Bureau of Standards where he was any early pioneer in the study of light measurement technology and tracing devices, which have now evolved into laser-guided technology. While there, he was also involved in development of airport lighting for increased visibility in fog. He was later employed by the Department of Transportation where he was instrumental in testing the third taillight of automobiles. He also mapped the town of McKinleyville, CA in 1960. He was a Boy Scout leader for many years and for his hobby was as a “Rock Hound” where he dug in many states. He enjoyed traveling the world in later years. He died on January 31, 2005.
John was inducted on April 26, 2008.