In Memory of Richard G. Voss,
8th Fighter Squadron
Posted September 28, 2004 by Mark Voss: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Richard Gerald Voss died September
18, 2004, after a brave battle with cancer. He was 75. Richard (Rich to
his friends) was born March 7, 1929, in Osborne, Kansas, to Hilda Mae (Selichnow)
and Lewis Voss. Hilda divorced Luke November 3, 1932, and raised Richard
as a single mother until she remarried Glenn Towne October 30, 1942.
Rich considered Glenn to be his father and grew up on the Towne
completed grade and high school in Osborne, graduating from O.H.S. in
1947. From his first year to his graduation, Rich was a leader. His
activities were many and varied. He was especially outstanding in
basketball and football,
and was the quarterback for the Bulldogs his senior year.
was musically talented. As a young man, he performed with the school
band, boys quartet, the mixed chorus and as a tenor soloist for the
Methodist church in Osborne. He was also a talented vocal soloist,
chosen for leading roles in school operettas, and later in Fort Collins,
he played Baron Von Trapp in the Sound of Music. He continued to play
the guitar and sing for his family and friends throughout life. Rich was
true lover of wine, women and song.
1947, Rich enrolled at CC in Colorado Springs as a pre-med student.
After two years, he transferred to KU in Lawrence, KS, attending one
year. On November 16, 1950, Rich enlisted in the US Air Force and began
training at Connally AFB in Texas. He graduated a pilot June 22, 1951,
then began advanced training at Williams AFB in Phoenix. Second
Lieutenant Voss received his commission and wings as a Jet Fighter Pilot
on December 15, 1951, then received
Voss was sent to K-2 (Taegu, Korea) AFB for combat on April 1, 1952,
with the 49th Wing of the 8th Fighter Bomber Squadron. The 49ers flew
daily combat missions in F-84 Thunderjets against North Korean and
Chinese Communist troops. Flying
as wing man on his 26th mission, in a close support mission over Chorwon,
Korea, Lt. Voss showed other team members a target by attacking first
and destroyed an automatic weapons position. He received a direct hit in
the fuselage on his 2nd run. Observers reported seeing Lt. Vossís
aircraft burst into flames and explode into a hill with no sign of a
bail out, parachute, or anything on the ground. Lt. Voss (Ripsaw) was
listed as killed in action July 14, 1952.
April 26, 1953, Vossís parents were posthumously presented with the
Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. An obituary appeared in
the Osborne newspaper. Fourteen months later on September 5,1953, the
parents of Lt. Voss received notice that he was a freed POW. They
learned what had happened on 7/14/52.
being hit Lt. Vossís plane started to snap roll. All the warning
lights went on in the cockpit, he lifted a lever at his side. The canopy
blew away, as did his helmet he then squeezed the lever, exploding a
cannon charge under the seat. He broke his leg as his seat shot up out
of the cockpit 40-50 feet. Lt.
Voss hurriedly unstrapped himself from the seat, kicked it away and
pulled his rip cord. His parachute went through the burning F-84, and caught fire.
Lt. Voss suffered burns to his hands, face, knees, a broken leg
and ankle. He was captured on July 17, 1952.
Voss was interrogated daily and the Chinese threatened to take him to
Red China for trial as a war criminal. The Chinese extracted germ
warfare confessions when Communist doctors let maggots crawl over his
wounds and into his right ear. Lt. Voss was held for fourteen months, 7
of which were in solitary confinement. His diet was meager, consisting
of cabbage, rice and the occasional fish head. Ironically, Dr. Voss was,
for the remainder of his life, a great lover of Chinese Food.
October 1, 1953, Osborne, Kansas, honored the return of POW Lt. Voss,
on ďRichard Voss DayĒ, that included 4 bands from Osborne and
Lt. Voss married Nancy Virginia Wolfer of Fort Collins on June 20, 1954.
Upon his return to service, he served as a gunnery instructor at Luke
AFB. He was promoted to First Lt. July 1, 1955.
separation from the Air Force, Rich re-enrolled in CC and graduated in
1956, with Bachelor of Fine Arts, Magna Cum Laude. He received his
Doctor of Medicine from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., on June
4, 1960 and completed an internship at Colorado General Hospital on June
23, 1961. Dr. Voss then pursued and completed a 4 year graduate
residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology at San Francisco General
Hospital. He became Chief resident his 4th year. On November 10, 1967,
he received a specialized degree in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Voss
joined Dr. Richard R. Hansen in the practice of Obstetrics and
Gynecology in Fort Collins in July of 1965, until the untimely death of
Dr. Hansen in an airplane crash in 1982.
Voss then entered solo practice and performed gynecological surgery,
treated cancers of the pelvis, infertility in young couples and
performed therapeutic terminations of pregnancy. He also taught medicine
at Colorado General in Denver and at Poudre Valley Memorial Hospital
during his career. He was named outstanding clinical teacher in the
Family Practice Program in 1980. Dr. Voss delivered over 3200 babies.
His wife, Nancy, ran his office for the last 15 years of his practice.
Dr. Voss retired in 1997.
Vossís love of flying continued throughout life. For ten years he
owned and flew from the Waverly West Soaring Ranch north of Fort
Collins. He achieved diamond awards from the National Soaring Society
for altitude and time aloft in gliders.
Voss, throughout his life, never lost his love of airplanes, cars, or
football. He spent many happy hours constructing model airplanes,
claiming that it helped polish his surgical skills. This past year, he
donated upwards of 16 model airplanes to the Air Force Academy in
Colorado Springs, which will be cherished by the History Department.
Rich loved to tell and hear a good joke.
Voss was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, the Fort Collins Country
Club, FROG (Former Residents of Ob/Gyn), the Caterpillar Club (for
having successfully bailed out of an airplane in combat) and the Society
of the Sons of The American Revolution.
Voss is survived by two sons, Mark of Burford, Wyoming and Brian of the
and four grandchildren, Colter, Bridge, Hayley and Tax. His wife Nancy
and his mother Hilda predeceased him. A memorial service will be held at
1:00 p.m. on October 2 at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, 2000 S. Lemay.
Internment will be at Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins and The Osborne
Cemetery in Kansas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Planned
Parenthood of the Rockies, 950 Broadway, Denver, Colorado 80203.
"I am also including a letter that my father asked me to send
Chet Bogle and some others after his death. Chet had sent a great
letter with a picture of the plane that Dad was flying when he was
shot down. Unfortunately, it was Chet's airplane Dad was flying.
I found the photo in the Korean Air War book
and blew it up and
put it in a frame. This photo and Chet's great letter were at the
foot of Dad's bed when he passed away.
We will have the military honors that are
available in Fort Collins
at the service next Saturday. The service is at Our Saviours
Church in the Fort at 1:00 p.m. on October 2nd.
My father spoke fondly and often of the reunion
of the 49ers he
attended several years ago in San Antonio. His friends from that
were never far from his thoughts.
I learned of them and the stories of that time
throughout my life.
Many of their names are as familiar to me as if they were relatives
I have never met them, they live in my head too."
I recently got a lovely card/letter from Chet Bogle showing a
picture of the airplane Anneís Bad Penny. This was the airplane I was
flying when I was shot down
in Korea. Chet I do apologize for crashing that Dawg. It was flying
perfectly up to the moment the North Koreans got involved and I had to
leave it in a bit of a hurry.
At the present I am a widower since May 3, 2001. I live alone in
the same old house in Fort Collins. Recently I was diagnosed with cancer
of the liver. It cannot be treated. Itís in all lobes and though a
transplant is possible the cancer cells are probably in the rest of the
body so this might not work.
My sons, Brian and Mark are in their 40's and each have two young
children. Mark lives in Wyoming and is an attorney. Brian lives in the
Woodlands (Houston) Texas and is a First Officer with Continental
I delivered about 3000 babies in my medical
practice over the years and old friends are coming to see me
regularly. Life has been full and rewarding. I am not
experiencing any significant pain and I am content.
I have not yet adopted Edgar Allen Poeís vigor for death,
however, it is coming, as it comes for all of us.
God bless you gentlemen and may your lives be of A-1 quality. It
was an honor and a privilege to serve with you.
With affection and good memories,