In honor of Veteran’s Day, I’ve chosen to use part of an article on John Brill, one of our many veterans and member of FPC. This was excerpted from Noblesville Magazine November 2015 and written by Kara Reibel.
“You know you’re getting old when planes you’ve flown are in the USAF museum at Wright Patt, ” says Korean and Cold War fighter pilot Lt. Col. John Brill. “In fact, between my brother, my dad and I, we’ve flown 25 planes in the museum at Dayton.”
Brill’s dad was a WWI fighter pilot who died in a war plane accident in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1940 when John was 10 years old. His father was part of the reserves at that time. Their family moved to Indianapolis after his dad passed.
John graduated from Howe Military Academy in 1948, the same year his brother, Jay Richard Brill, graduated from West Point. After John graduated from Howe, he attended Purdue University, then joined the USAF serving active duty from 1952-1956. His unit was combat ready during Korea. After the truce with Korea was signed, Brill was assigned to Air Defense Command at Otis AFB on Cape Cod. Brill flew an F-86F, commonly called a Sabre Jet, and a Lockheed F-94C Starfire.
At Otis AFB on Cape Cod, Brill was one of the 2,000 pilots who ran intercept to scare the Russians during the Cold War. Brill explained that airliners coming into our airspace had to report at the Air Defense identification zone. These airliners had to be within five minutes of ETA and traveling within 20 miles of their true course or an alert button was pressed and the intercepts were sent up to identify the jetliners.
After serving active duty for five years, Brill returned to Purdue and graduated with an industrial economics degree. He also served with the National Guard, serving a total of 23 years.
John tells the story about the time he took his wife up in a jet fighter. “It was 1956, and my wife Carolyn was probably the second female ever to go up. I took her to 40,000 feet over Boston. I couldn’t own up to this experience until 50 years later when I wouldn’t get into trouble.”
He and his wife Carolyn have three children and six grandchildren. They live on Morse Reservoir where John would regularly land his amphibious plane. I’m sure it was against the rules, but no one ever said anything.”
Thank you to all of our veterans for your service to our country. We are blessed to have so many brave men and women who are selfless in service to keep us the home of the brave and the land of the free. God Bless all of you.
Take a minute today to thank a veteran you know. He or she will be grateful you did.