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William Voight (Veteran)

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William Maxwell "Max" Voight, 86, of Rolla, passed away Monday, May 31, 2010, at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Columbia.
Max was of the 3rd generation of 19th century immigrants who came to the Missouri Ozarks from Saxony, Germany. Max was born on September 27, 1923, near Jamestown, Missouri and grew up in Moniteau County. He graduated from Olean High School in 1942, and along with his good friend, Orville Thompson, enlisted in the United States Army Air Force in November of that year. After receiving certification as a radio operator and .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gunner, Max was promoted to Technical Sergeant and assigned to a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" heavy bomber. In March, 1944, T-Sergeant Voight landed in Foggia, Italy where he and his crew joined the 352nd Squadron, 5th Wing, 301st Heavy Bombardment Group, 15th United States Army Air Force. While assigned to the European theater of war, Max participated in precision strategic bombing campaigns against German industrial and military targets. Destroying these military targets helped to secure air superiority over the cities, factories, and battlefields of Western Europe, in preparation for ground force invasions. Max flew the first of his 27 combat missions on April 23, 1944. On July 18, 1944, while on a mission to Memmingen, Germany, his B-17 was shot down by German aircraft over Bolzano, Italy. After parachuting to safety, Max became a German prisoner of war. On July 23, 1944, he was assigned to the West Lager of Stalag Luft III, near Sagan, Germany. Max spent his 21st birthday in prison camp. While there, he used his knowledge of Morse Code by working with British prisoners to intercept radio broadcasts from the British Broadcast Corporation. Knowledge of outside events contributed significantly to the moral of allied prisoners during WWII. On January 28, 1945, Max and fellow prisoners began a 60 mile forced march in very cold weather; they were eventually interned at Stammlager 14-D, near Nuremberg, Germany. The war prisoners were moved again, and on April 13th arrived at Stalag VII-A near Moosburg, where Max and fellow internees were liberated by the U. S. 14th Armored Division on April 29, 1945. Among the numerous meritorious awards Max received for exemplary military service were the European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal Set with 3 Bronze Stars; Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters; Victory, World War II Medal Set; American Campaign Medal Set; Prisoner of War Medal Set; and the Purple Heart. After serving in WWII, Max went to college on the GI bill and in May 1949, graduated from Central Missouri College at Warrensburg with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, with a major in mathematics. Max was a civil engineer and cartographer. He retired from the United States Geological Survey in 1980. In 1974, Max accepted a four-month assignment to the Antarctic. There, he and other USGS engineers established mapping control with both georeceiver and conventional survey instruments using satellite imagery. These accomplishments led to the establishment of topographic maps of the Sentinel Range, Ellsworth Mountains. Max received the Antarctica Service Medal for these accomplishments. Max was a former member of the Rolla Lions Club and the Oak Meadow Country Club. He was a member of the Highway E Church of Christ. Once 16 million strong, U.S. veterans of World War II are dying at a rate of more than 1,000 a day. Please join the children of Max Voight in saluting America's Greatest Generation by sending a charitable donation to a veteran's organization of your choice. He is survived by his sister, Ruth Clements of Saint Mathews, South Carolina and three sons and one daughter: William, of Jefferson City; Ronald and his wife Patti, of Rolla; and Clifford and his wife Becky, of Rolla; and, Mary Jane Foster and her husband Douglas of Houston, Texas. He is further survived by nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Max was preceded in death by his wife, Venita (Wood) of Eldon, who passed away in 2007, and by his sister, Evelyn Kennon, who passed away in 1998. Visitation for family and friends will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday, June 3, 2010, at James & Gahr Mortuary in Rolla, Missouri. Funeral services will also be held Thursday, June 3 beginning at 4 p.m. at James & Gahr Mortuary in Rolla. Interment will be at Ozark Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Rolla, Missouri with Full Military Honors. Online condolences may be left by visiting www.jamesgahrmortuary.com. All arrangements are under the direction of James & Gahr Mortuary of Rolla, Missouri.

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