Click to view the VASCONCELLS_JERRY_COX album Major Jerry Cox Vasconcells was born in Lyons, Kansas about the year 1895. As a young man he attended Denver’s East High School and later attended Dartmouth College. He had to leave college for health reasons. He later graduated from the University of Denver Law School and became a member of a law firm in Denver.
When World War I started, he joined the military to become an aviator with training in Canada with the Royal Air Force. In 1917, he was sent to France to fly in combat. He flew the SPAD in combat and was once shot down, but his flying skill enabled him to land in "no man's land" to be rescued by allied soldiers. In due time he became an "Ace" with a score of 6 airplanes and two balloons. Some of his experiences are mentioned in the classic book "War Birds". He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre and other honors from both the French and American governments. He had the honor of working with Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, Gen. Billy Mitchell and Frank Luke. In 1919 he was rated Military Aviator, promoted to Major and returned to the United States, suffering from many problems related to his combat flying. There are some researchers who consider Jerry Vasconcells to be Colorado's only ace from World War 1.
After returning to Colorado, Jerry helped Mayor Ben F. Stapleton establish Denver's Municipal Airfield and was active in opening and extending air services in and around Denver. He served two terms as chairman of the Colorado Aeronautics Commission, contributing much to early aviation in this state. He was one of the organizers of the first Colorado Air Meet in 1921, the first of many.
Jerry was one of the founding members of the Quiet Birdmen Association and has been written up in the Denver newspapers in stories that tell a few of his wartime experiences and honors.
Jerry passed away in at his Denver home in December 1950.