John B. Hoff is now a First Lieutenant serving on Extended Active Duty (EAD) in the USAF as an F-16 fighter pilot. He is currently assigned to the Iowa Air National Guard, 124 Fighter Squadron, 132nd Fighter Wing, Des Moines Municipal Airport, Des Moines, Iowa. He graduated from USAF Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) at the top of his class (#1) out of a starting field of 33 pilot candidates. He swept all 5 trophies that the USAF gives to each graduating class: (Top Stick; Top Academic, Top Leadership, the Air Education & Training Command Commandant’s Trophy for Overall Excellence, and the Daedalian Society Award for Airmanship).
Early in his life, John (who is also goes by “J.B.”) developed an early and passionate interest in flying and aviation. While at New Trier, J.B. earned his FAA Private Pilot’s License, after having soled on his 16th birthday (the earliest that a pilot can do so legally in the U.S.). J.B. actually earned his pilot’s license before receiving his automobile driver’s license. He earned his FAA Instrument Rating before graduating in 2003. He was active in the Winnetka Youth Organization (WYO) at the Winnetka Community House, and was also very involved and active in the Winnetka Children’s Theater Group. He achieved Eagle Scout with Winnetka’s BSA Troop 20, earning 40 Merit Badges (only 21 are necessary for the rank of Eagle). He also received the BSA Heroism Medal for a lifesaving water retrieval and CPR revival attempt at sea while on a two-person trans-North Atlantic sailing voyage the summer of 1999, while he was only age 14. He was also nominated for the prestigious Carnegie Award for Heroism for the same event. “J.B.” was a “Student Ambassador” to Australia with the “People-To-People” program in 2001. Well-balanced and athletic, he achieved two Varsity “Letters” while at N.T. for volleyball, and a bronze medal in the 2002 NASTAR Down Hill Slalom snow skiing competition in Utah. He received a N.T. college scholarship for Engineering Excellence for building a working 50% scale of the 1902 Wright Brothers Glider, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Manned Flight in 2003. The fully-functional glider hung in the rotunda of the school for an entire year. Following the events of 9-11, he enlisted in the Illinois Air National Guard, at the 183rd Fighter Wing, Springfield, IL, while age 17, the summer after his N.T. junior year. In 2004, he earned a Congressional Award – Gold Medal, administered by the Congressional Award Foundation located in Washington, DC. (one of only 171 individuals selected in 2004), in recognition for his overall outstanding civic volunteer work, athletics, and personal advancement while at N.T. This is the Nation's highest recognition for outstanding civil contribution by young Americans.
Following his graduation from N.T. in 2003, he completed 12 weeks of Basic Military Training (BMT) in the USAF the summer of 2003. He began at the University of Illinois, Institute of Aviation full-time, the Fall of 2003, drilling with the ANG in Springfield on weekends throughout his college career. He was compelled to lay out one semester of college his sophomore year, to attend USAF Technical School to learn how to be an Air Frame Crew Chief on an F-16. He graduated #1 in his class there at Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, TX. He made up the one lost semester by taking a super-heavy course load his last two years, thus actually graduating from the Univ. of Illinois in only 3 ½ years. J.B. became a “fully qualified” F-16 Crew Chief, and continued to advance in rank. His Air Guard unit was Mobilized and the F-16s were Deployed to Balad AFB, Iraq in 2006. He volunteered and was selected for this. In Iraq, he serviced and “turned” his unit’s F-16 jets after overseeing their re-fuelling, rearming, safety checks and re-launching. There, while under daily mortar fire, he worked 12 hour days, 6 days a week. During his one day a week “off”, he volunteered every week at the base hospital, dubbed “Balad General”. The hospital OR staff used him (he is 6’5” and 220 lbs) moving stretcher and gurney wounded soldiers in and out of the Emergency OR during surgeries and amputations. He quickly achieved the USAF rank of Staff Sergeant (E-5). In 2006 he received the President's Volunteer Service Award - Gold Level - for his community Service efforts, as well as a total of ten different scholarships for his academic achievements while at the Univ. of Illinois. After graduating from the Univ. of Illinois, Institute of Aviation, in 2007, he was hired by American Eagle Airlines and became a First Officer flying the Embraer ERJ 145 Commuter Jets based at Chicago-O’Hare International Airport (ORD). He was selected and recognized by the USO of Illinois as the Outstanding Serviceman of the Quarter in 2009 and honored at the Chicago Union League Club for his overall outstanding patriotic service to his Community, his State and the Nation. He was selected to be the Parade Marshall and Featured Speaker at the 2010 83rd annual Winnetka Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony.
While flying full-time as a professional airline pilot, he continued his nexus with the Air National Guard. He transferred from the Illinois ANG to the Iowa ANG after the Springfield unit was “BRACed” in 2008, and the F-16s transferred to other ANG units. In 2009, his Iowa ANG unit selected him for commissioning as a 2/Lt., and thereafter, sent him a special 4 week Introduction to Flight Systems (IFS) in Pueblo, CO in Sep-Oct 2009. There, he flew the Diamond DA-20 single engine aircraft. From there, he went to USAF Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) at Laughlin AFB, Del Rio, TX for one year. There he flew the Beechcraft T-6II turboprop trainer and the supersonic Northrop T-38 Talon jet - earning his coveted USAF silver “wings” on 19 Nov 2010. He went on for a second year of advance fighter training in F-16 jets at Luke AFB, Phoenix, AZ, where he graduated as a fully-qualified F-16 fighter pilot on 27 January 2012. He now has a total of ten years of service in the USAF and the Air National Guard. As a fully-qualified fighter pilot, he is amongst the most “elite” of the country’s most elite military forces. For his ten years of military service, Lt. J.B. Hoff has received the following military decorations and medals:
12 USAF Decorations, Medals & Ribbons, and; one Illinois State National Guard Medal and one Ill. ANG Ribbon:
1. A. F. Achievement Medal
2. A. F. Reserve Component Meritorious Service Medal
3. A. F. Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon
4. National Defense Medal
5. Iraq Campaign Medal (with 1 star device)
6. Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
7. Military Outstanding Voluntary Service Medal
8. A. F. Expeditionary Service Medal (with gold frame box)
9. A. F Longevity Ribbon (with 1 Bz.OLC)
10. Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with “M” Mobilization device)
11. A. F. Small Arms Expert Marksman Ribbon
12. A. F. Training Ribbon (with 1 Bz. OLC)
In addition, he earned two state ANG Medals or Ribbons:
13. Illinois 5 Year Honorable Service & Longevity Medal
14. Illinois 100% Drill & Attendance Ribbon (with "6" device for 6 years)
1/Lt. John B. Hoff is now flying an F-16 fighter full-time in the Iowa ANG in Des Moines, IA. However, he will be discharged from full-time training duties after 18 months - but will maintain his dual role as a “citizen-soldier”, resuming his full-time civilian piloting job with American Eagle, based at ORD, while continuing to serve in the Reserve Component of the USAF Reserve/Air Guard. In the later capacity, he will be subject to periodic Mobilizations and Deployments – depending on the needs of the Nation. J.B. continues to be active in civic affairs in Winnetka and Chicago, assisting in parades and military events, and actively supporting the USO.
He is an accomplished writer; having had two articles published that dealt with flying and aviation safety:
1. "A Primer on Aircraft Flight Instructor Liability", Issues in Aviation Law and Policy co-written and published by Commerce Clearing House (CCH), by John Baron Hoff and John Scott Hoff – May 2008
2. "Solo at 16", by John Baron Hoff, Cessna Owners Magazine. May 2008
Posted by JOHN SCOTT HOFF, Colonel, USAF (Ret.), 1 June 2012
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