Captain Jerry Cox Vasconcells is identified as Colorado’s only air ace of World War I.  That may be true, but Vasconcells was born in Lyons, Kansas on December 3, 1892.  His family must have moved to Denver at an early age, as Vasconcells graduated from high school in Denver. Vasconcells joined the U.S. Army Air Corps at the onset of the Great War.  He was shot down on one of his flights, but was able to land safely–and in this case, that’s a relative term–in no man’s land.  Soldiers were able to rescue him.  Very fortunate, because in shooting down six planes and two balloons, he was an ace.

He was flight commander of the 27th Aero Squadron, and later commanded the 185th Aero Squadron.

In his post-war years he was chairman of the Colorado Aeronautics Commission, and helped establish the Municipal Airfield in Denver with the Mayor, Benjamin Stapleton.

Vasconcells died in Denver on April 17, 1950.

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Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.