Entry Date: 64

Exit Date: 66

Rating: LCDR

Squad: 21

Status: D: 10/24/2012




“Born in the big city of Pleasant Hill, Illinois and lived there through high school. With a population of about 1,000 folks, it was a great place to be a kid. While a senior in high school, I picked up an issue of Flying magazine that was devoted almost entirely to Naval Aviation. I was already a bit nuts about airplanes, but that pushed me over the edge. In December, 1943 I was accepted into Navy’s flight training program (V-5), but was immediately told that I would initially be assigned to the college training program (V-12) for some period of time before entering the flight training program. This was, of course, a good deal – but it didn’t sound so hot to me at the time.

1944 — Graduated from high school in June and was immediately thereafter ordered to Mississippi College for V-12.

1945 — Finished three semesters (60 semester hours) and was sent to St. Mary’s College in California for pre-flight school in June. WWII ended in August and I opted to leave the program.

1946 to 1948 – Attended University of Illinois. B.S. in 1948, then accepted an offer from the Navy to go back in to the flight training program as an Ensign. (Good decision!)

1949 to 1951 – Flight training. Basic in Pensacola, flying SNJ’s – including 5 landings on the carrier. Flew PBM seaplanes in advanced at Corpus Christi. Received wings in March 1951.

1951 to 1952 – Assigned to the Naval Station, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, for 12 months. (Obviously, I had a lot of influence in BuPers.)

1952 to 1954 – Survived Kwaj and was assigned to VP-42, flying PBM’s and home ported at NAS San Diego. Made a six month deployment to Kodiak and the Aleutians, during which time we lost two of our nine aircraft. Operating seaplanes in that environment was a challenge. Exciting time. Traded our PBM’s for P5M’s upon return to San Diego.

1954 to 1956 – Flight and ground training instructor at NAS Corpus Christi.

1956 to 1957 – Line School at Monterey, California.

1957 to 1958 – Air Intelligence/Photo Interpretation/Radar Target Analysis School, Washington, D.C.

1958 to 1960 – Air Intelligence Officer, COMFAIRWINGSLANT Staff. NAS Norfolk.

1960 to 1963 – Maintenance Officer, VP-24, NAS Norfolk. VP-24 was assigned to Task Group Delta during a major part of that period. That meant lots of sub time, which was certainly good experience. The squadron was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962.

1963 to 1964 – Postgraduate course at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. MBA degree.

1964 to 1966 – XO and CO, VP-21. What a great experience! Maybe, at my advanced age, I tend to forget some tough times, but I’m certain that this period was the absolute highlight of my time in the Navy. It seemed that we were always busy, but nevertheless found time to appreciate the situation. There were certainly many commitments, including several exercises and a split deployment to Keflavik and Rota. There was an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI), which is usually kind of a painful time. Seemed to me that the whole squadron “played the game” during the ORI and maybe even enjoyed at least major parts of it. Incredible! I could go on, but we need to keep this somewhat brief. Many, many thanks to all who were in the squadron during that time! Hope to see you all at the next reunion.

1966 to 1967 – Naval War College, Newport, RI – Naval Warfare Course.

1967 to 1969 – Naval Air Systems Command, Washington, D. C. – Head of the Naval Research and Technology Programs Branch.

1969 to 1971 — COMAIRWING THREE, NAS Brunswick. Chief Staff Officer.

1971 to 1975 — SACLANTREPEUR Staff, NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Great experience.

1975 to 1978 — CO and Professor of Naval Science, NROTC Unit, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois. (Retired in the summer of 1978.)

Following my retirement from the Navy, I loafed for a year. (Liked that a lot.) Then went to work at Frasca International, a local firm that manufactures a complete line of fixed wing and rotary wing flight simulators, and markets them world-wide – over 70 countries. My title is “Director, Special Projects”, but I don’t exactly know what that means. Mostly, I deal with the overseas representatives, which is sometimes exciting. I’ve been a part-timer for several years now. Great schedule.

Pat, my dear wife of some 50 years, passed away in 1998. Daughter Barbara and her family live in Switzerland. Daughter Deb and her husband are in Dallas, Texas. Both of those families treat me much better than I deserve.

From the Obituary of: “” Capt. John William Orrill, USN (retired), 86, of Savoy passed away at 5:25 a.m. Wednesday (Oct. 24, 2012) at the Clark-Lindsey Village Nursing Home in Urbana…..He was born on Sept. 6, 1926, in Pleasant Hill….He earned his Eagle Scout in 1941. ….Following completion of the Navy’s Financial Management Program, he received an MBA from George Washington University. He managed a division of the Naval Air Systems Command in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for financial planning for the naval aircraft and missile research and technology effort…..He also completed four years of duty at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, as well as a tour of duty as the professor of naval sciences and commanding officer of the Naval ROTC Unit at the University of Illinois. He retired as a captain, U.S. Navy, in 1978…..He was a member of the Champaign Rotary Club, First United Methodist Church and the Military Officers Association of America…..

Survivors include two daughters and their husbands, Barbara Orrill Turi and Alberto Turi of Buochs, Switzerland, and Deborah Ann Orrill and Blair Sanders of Dallas, Texas; and one granddaughter, Giuliana Turi, also of Buochs, Switzerland.”””