NOHS Class of 1948 - Paul Sponseller

Who knew the boy who is remembered by his classmates for making and flying paper airplanes in high school would go on to be a real pilot with a successful military career and an impressive service record?  This year the Outstanding Alumni Award was presented to a member of the class of 1948 who did just that.  Paul Sponseller travelled from his home in Fredericksburg, VA, to accept this award during the annual New Oxford High School Alumni banquet. The award was presented by Pat Staub, ’51.

After graduating from New Oxford high school,  Paul worked for his brother Carl for two years in ‘Carl’s Frozen Custard Store’ in Fredericksburg, VA.

He enlisted in the US Air Force in 1951 and following radio school at Keesler AFB in Mississippi was assigned as an aircrew member to an espionage group at Seoul, Korea.  He said they would drop ‘things’ and people behind enemy lines and pick them up, many times landing and taking off from beaches belonging to North Korea.  He flew 75 combat missions in Korea with his aircraft being hit twice and one crewmember lost.

After returning to the United States he qualified for Aviation Cadets and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in September 1954.  His first assignment after receiving his pilot wings was as a flight instructor in Laredo, Texas flying the T-33. He spent four years in a fighter squadron in Spain flying F-86 Saber Jets and F-102 Delta Daggers. 

Back in the United States he was assigned to Randolph AFB, Texas, as a flight instructor again, but this time teaching other pilots to be become Air Force flight instructors in the T-38.

In 1967 he was stationed at DaNang’s “Rocket City.”  While he was there he flew 147 combat missions in the F-4C Phantom. 

After he retired from the US Air Force, his brother, Carl, was ready to retire from the ice cream store and asked Paul to take over.   In 2001, after a total of more than thirty years, Paul finally and completely retired, turning the store over to his three children. 

In 2005 Paul received notice that ‘Carl’s Ice Cream Store’ was entered into the National Registry of Historic places. 

Paul said, “Looking back, I find it hard to believe all the things I have seen and done, and all the people I have known.  I attribute all this to a lifelong love for flying that began when I was a kid back on my farm”.

 From flying paper airplanes in high school to flying real airplanes for his country, he made his dream come true. 

Paul met and married his wife, Sagrario, during his tour of duty in Spain. They have three children, Ramona, Daniel and Cristina and also have three grandchildren, with another on the way.