Frank Ackerman Hill, 92, retired Air Force colonel, died peacefully on January 5, 2012 at Bohlman Manor in Birnamwood, WI. Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. at M. John Scanlan Funeral Home, 781 Newark Pompton Turnpike, Pompton Plains, on Sunday, January 8. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Monday, January 9 at 10 a.m. at Holy Spirit R.C. Church, Pequannock, NJ. Burial will follow at the First Reformed Church cemetery in Pompton Plains. For more information, visit www.scanlanfuneral.com. In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation to the NJ Aviation Hall of Fame Museum, Teterboro, NJ would be appreciated. Visit http://www.njahof.org/helpsupport.htm.
Col. Hill was born in Nyack, NY, March 20, 1919 and was raised in Westwood and Hillsdale, NJ by his parents, Frederick L. Hill and Ruth (Ackerman) Hill. He taught himself to fly primary gliders in 1937 with his brothers and school friends. By 1939 he had enlisted in the Army Air Corps.
Hill was commissioned in 1940 from Flying Cadet class and assigned to 31st Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field, MI, where he married Linda Janette Lemke of Mattoon, WI. He became flight commander and flew P-39's and P-40's before going to England in May, 1942 where the 31st Fighter Group was equipped with British Spitfires. His first air victory during the Battle of Dieppe made Time Magazine August 31, 1942. Hill participated in invasions and air and ground operations in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. He became first ace of the 31st Fighter Group in 1943 and then the group’s commander. Hill flew 166 combat missions.
Hill commanded pilot training units during the 1940’s, becoming the Senior Air Instructor, NY Air National Guard in 1950. At the start of the Korean War he commanded fighter groups in France and later worked in the Plans Division for the newly-formed US Air Force and Joint Chiefs of Staff. Hill commanded various fighter groups and air bases in New York and Greenland before being named Director of Operations at Air Defense Command in Colorado. The last assignment of his thirty-year career was as Commander, 33rd Air Division in Virginia.
Col. Hill retired in August, 1969 to Pompton Plains and resided there with Linda until 2006. Hill established and operated a real estate brokerage development and appraisal firm in Denville, NJ. He was active in family history and presided over the David Ackerman Descendants–1662 genealogical society in Bergen County. He continued to fly sailplanes as a hobby, claiming they were the next best enjoyment to flying a fighter.
Col. Hill’s military decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal w/19 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Legion of Merit w/2 OLC's and 5 Air Force Commendation Medals. He was a member of the American Fighter Aces and the Retired Officers Association. Col. Hill was inducted into the NJ Aviation Hall of Fame in 1992.
Col. Hill is survived by Linda, his beloved wife of 71 years, a brother, John R. Hill of Palm Harbor, FL, daughter Janet Schmidt and husband Tim of Birnamwood, WI, sons Robert Hill and wife Joan of Colorado Springs, CO and Thomas Hill and wife Barbara of Pompton Plains, NJ. He is also survived by his grandchildren Joy Schmidt, TJ Schmidt, Matthew Schmidt, Kimberly Hill, Christopher Hill, Kevin Hill, Caitlyn Hill, Kurt Hill, and six great-grandchildren.
Frank also had a visitation with his family in Wisconsin. To view his obituary and sign the guest book please follow the link. http://www.schmidtschulta.com/