Joseph A. Ventolo, Jr

Joseph A. Ventolo, Jr

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Joseph A. Ventolo, Jr. is the former curator of the US Air Force Museum (now the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force), having retired on January 3, 1998

Military Service

In November 1959 Ventolo joined the 269th Comm Sqn., Ohio Air National Guard, Springfield, OH. In February 1960 entered basic training at Lackland AFB, TX, and in April, transferred to Keesler AFB, MS, completed basic training there, and attended ground radio maintenance school at Keesler Technical Training Center. After graduation in November 1960, he returned to the 269th Comm. Sqn. and served four years as a Ground Radio Equipment Repairman, attaining the rank of Senior Airman. In 1965, he received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Ohio Air National Guard, and was assigned to Headquarters, 251st Comm. Gp., Springfield, OH, as a communications officer. He left the Ohio Air National Guard in 1966 and transferred to the Air Force Reserve where he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. He remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1970.

While attending Miami University, Ventolo worked as a radio announcer for radio stations WRMU & WMUB, Oxford, OH, and WPFB, Middletown, OH. He was also on the production staff of Miami University Broadcasting, an early educational television service. During summer vacations from Miami, he was employed as an Engineering Aid with the Communications & Navigation Laboratory, Wright Air Development Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. Following graduation from Miami University in 1958, he was hired by television station WLWD, Dayton, OH, as a traffic clerk, and later, as a film clerk and cutter/editor. In 1962, Joe joined the staff of the U.S. Air Force Motion Picture Film Archives at Wright-Patterson AFB as a Motion Picture Archivist. In 1969 he transferred to the Advanced Logistics Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB as a historian and public information officer. Shortly thereafter he was assigned to the Office of History, Headquarters Air Force Logistics Command (also at Wright- Patterson), as a staff historian. While there he authored several monographs and contributed sections to the command’s annual official histories.

In 1979, he transferred to the Research Division, U.S. Air Force Museum as the Museum’s Historian. Two years later he became a Curator of Aeronautics. While assigned to the museum’s research division, he researched and wrote 12 editions of the annual history of the Museum, as well as countless display labels and information brochures for aircraft in the museum’s collection. He wrote aviation articles for such periodicals Air Force Magazine, Warbirds International magazine and Aero News Photo. He also co-authored articles that appeared in such periodicals as Air Enthusiast, WW I Aero, and Friends Bulletin. In 1993 he was appointed Curator of the U.S. Air Force Museum and named Curator of the United States Air Force. He remained in that position until his retirement on January 3, 1995.

Ventolo also volunteered with the Ohio History of Flight, Inc. Air Museum in Columbus, OH, from 1995 until its closure in 1999. In 1999, he joined the volunteer staff of the Clark County Park District at the Davidson Interpretive Center located at historic George Rogers Clark Park, near Springfield, Ohio.

He is currently a co-owner/consultant with Phoenix Aviation Research, Sunnyside, NY, and heads its Ohio Office. He has co-authored articles in the Atlantic Flyer, and written three aviation books, all with Jeannette Remak, founder of Phoenix Aviation Research. Their first book, XB-70 Valkyrie: The Ride to Valhalla was published by Motorbooks International (MBI) in December 1998. Their second book, A-12 Blackbird: Declassified, was published by MBI in December 2000. A third book, The Archangel and the OXCART: The Lockheed A-12 Blackbirds and the Dawn of Mach III Reconnaissance was published by Trafford Publishing Co. in 2008. Joseph is continuing his writing with a book that examines the certain aspects of the Amateur Radio Service and associated organizations.

Other Activities

Joseph Ventolo has been an amateur radio operator since 1956. His callsign is K8DMZ and he is a licensed Extra Class operator. “Ham” radio is an avocation he shares with his wife and two of his daughters and their husbands. Once a year he edits and publishes the Gearvakf Bulletin, a humor newsletter primarily directed toward amateur radio aficionados.

Joe is a lifelong resident of Enon, Ohio.


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