Monona County

Lt. Norbert D. Koll



Mapleton Youth, Once Creighton Great, Missing.

Omaha (AP) –A member of Creighton University’s famed big four backfield of 1938, 1939, and 1940 football seasons has been reported “missing in action” from the British base from which he piloted a Flying Fortress over Nazi-dominated Europe.

He is Lieut. Norbert Koll, quarterback on the big four and son of Mrs. Albert Koll of Mapleton, Ia., who was advised by the War Department yesterday that the former Bluejay great is missing.

With Don Flemming and Johnny Knolla as halfbacks and Al Truscott as fullback, the big four became one of the top offensive units in the Midwest.

Source: Carroll Times Herald, June 2, 1943


Washington D. C. –(AP)—Four Iowans were reported missing in action in the European area Saturday by the War Department. Those missing were Second Lt. Wayne L. Buck, Washta; First Lt. Norbert D. Koll, Mapleton; Tech. Sgt. James V. Shaw, Estherville; and Staff Sgt. Willard O. Simpson, Des Moines.

Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, June 13, 1943

Lt. Norbert Koll,
Missing in Action,
Awarded Air Medal

First Lieut. Norbert Koll, son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Koll of Mapleton and who was reported “missing in action” in the Atlantic since May 21, was awarded the Air Medal for exceptionally meritorious achievement, according to a letter received here by his parents from the War Department.

Lt. Koll, pilot of a Flying Fortress, had been stationed somewhere in England for several weeks before he was reported “missing in action.”

The following letter was received from the office of the Adjutant General in Washington, D.C.

My Dear Mr. Koll,
I have the honor to inform you that be direction of the President, the Air Medal has been awarded to your son, First Lieutenant Norbert D. Koll, Air Corps, for exceptionally meritorious achievement.

Since your son has been reported to the War Department as missing in action, the decoration will be presented to you in his absence.  The Air Medal will be forwarded through the Commanding General Seventh Service Command, Omaha, Nebraska, to an office of a nearby Air Corps installation for presentation to you.  The officer selected to make the presentation will communicate with you concerning your wishes in this matter.

May I again extend my sympathy during this period and hope with your for more favorable news.

Sincerely yours, J. A. ULIO, Major General The Adjutant General.

Lt. Koll is a graduate of the Mapleton high school with the Class of 1936, and was a graduate of Creighton University in Omaha of 1940. He was prominent in music and sports, both at Mapleton and Creighton.

He was graduated as a 2nd lieutenant in June, 1942, after completion of his nine months of flying instruction at Williams Field, at Chandler, Ariz.

His father is employed in defense work and his brother, Gene Koll, and sister, Miss Berta Lou Koll, attend the Mapleton high school and are with Mrs. Koll.

Source: The Mapleton Press, October 7, 1943

In a simple, but impressive ceremony at the army air base, Sioux City, Thursday, the air medal was presented to the nearest next of kin of two of America’s heroes, Lieut. Robert M. Koenig, LeMars, and Lieut. Norbert Koll, Mapleton.

The ceremony was held on the parade grounds of the air base before a formal review of the base personnel. In reading the citations, Capt. E. S. Cram, base adjutant, read of the meritorious service to their country by the two fliers.

Lieut. Norbert D. Kol
l, missing in action, over Germany, and Lieut. Robert Koenig, now a German prisoner of war, Capt. Cram read from the citation, “For exceptionally meritorious achievement while participating in five separate bomber missions over enemy occupied Continental Europe. The courage, coolness and skill displayed by these officers upon these occasions reflect great credit upon themselves and the Armed Forces of the United States.”

The air medals were received by Mrs. Robert Koenig, wife, and Mrs. Albert Koll, mother, of the fliers.

Source: LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, November 9, 1943 (photo included)

First Mapleton Boy to Lose Life in World War II Was Flying Fortress Pilot

Memorial services were held Tuesday morning at 9 o’clock when cores of relatives and friends gathered at St. Mary’s Catholic church to honor the memory of 1st Lt. Norbert D. Koll, 25-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Koll, who has now been officially announced “killed in action” over enemy territory over Europe May 21, 1943.

Mrs. Koll received a letter from the War Department Friday stating that he was officially declared dead after being missing a year.  He and his crew were first reported missing when they failed to return from a bombing mission over Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

Members of the American Legion veterans of World War I, and members of the Armed Forces in World War II took part in the military rites.  Advancing and retiring of the colors was by B. F. Sonksen, William Carter, Pvt. Raymond Koenigs of the Army Air Corps and Sgt. Marten Peterson of the Marines.  Commander Joe H. Koenigs of Loren Hollister Post was in charge of the military group, assisted by Adjutant Sam T. Chapman.

Other members of the American Legion, who attended in a body, were Nels Muckey, John A. Dusehl, Francis J. Chamberlin, Casper J. Uhl, Roy C. Myers, Vern Vanderbur, and W. H. Thompson.  Members of the Armed Forces of World War II, who were home on leaves or furloughs, attending the services were: Dean Shaffer, A/C Lester Theobald, and Lt. (j.g) Rosina Theobald of the Navy, and S/Sgt. Lawrence Sonksen, of the Army.

Rev. A. H. Oeken, pastor of St. Mary’s church, said Requiem High Mass and delivered the Memorial sermon.  Capt. Stanley J. Gaines, chaplain at the Sioux City air base said second mass.  Lt. Doran E. Swartzmiller, F/O Norman Strand, Lt. Edwin Brown and Lt. John Mason, also of the Air Base, were present.

Robert Langholz sounded taps at the conclusion of the services.

Norbert D. Koll was born May 13, 1919, in Mapleton, the eldest son of Albert and Luella Koll. He attended St. Mary’s high school and graduated from Mapleton high school in 1937.  Lt. Koll attended Creighton University in Omaha and graduated from there in 1940.  While in high school, he was an outstanding athlete and was a football star at Creighton.  He was a quarterback on the famed Big Four backfield in 1938, 1939, and 1940, being one of the top offensive units in the Midwest.  He was prominent in music and all sports. He played cornet in the Mapleton high school band for several years.

Norbert enlisted in the Army Air Corps November 11, 1911.  He received his pilot training at Kelley Field, Texas, Phoenix, Ariz., Gardner Field, Cal., El Paso, Texas, and in Kansas and New Mexico.  He received his silver pilot’s wings and was commissioned a second lieutenant in June, 1942, when he graduated from Williams Field, Chandler, Ariz.  He was later stationed at Pierre and Rapid City, S. D., when he and his crew spent Christmas, 1942, here with his parents. He also received additional training at Boise, Idaho, and Salina, Kans., before going overseas in January, 1943.  While stationed at Salina, his crew was voted the best one reviewed and were given a banquet.

Lt. Koll was first pilot on a Flying Fortress and had been stationed somewhere in England for several weeks before he was reported missing in action on May 21, 1943.

Mr. and Mrs. Koll received the Air Medal Lt. Koll last November at a ceremony at the Army Air Base near Sioux City. The was awarded for exceptionally meritorious achievement while participating in five separate bombing combat missions over enemy occupied Continental Europe.

He is survived by his parents; one sister, Miss Berta Lou Koll; and one brother, Eugene.  Mr. Koll and son are now employed at Bakersfield, Cal.  Mrs. Koll and Berta Lou expect to leave next week for Bakersfield to spend the summer.

Among the out of town relatives and friends attending the memorial services were Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Sieverding and daughter, Florence; Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy Kurth, of LeMars; Mr. and Mrs. Leo Koll and Mrs. Joe Stanley and daughters of Hornick; Sister Ronald of Charter Oak; Joe Oberreuter of Danbury; Mr. and Mrs. Chris Sorenson, of Ticonic.

Mr. and Mrs. Roy Buck of Washta visited here Wednesday morning with Mrs. Koll and Berta Lou.  Their son, Lt. Wayne Buck, co-pilot of the Flying Fortress with Lt. Koll, has also been officially announced dead by the War Department.

Source: The Mapleton Press, June 15, 1944 (photo included)


Mr. and Mrs. Albert Koll, who are now in Bakersfield, Cal., received the following letter from the War Department, stating that the Purple Heart has been awarded to their son, Lt. Norbert D. Koll, who was killed in action over enemy territory over Europe May 21, 1943.

June 20, 1944
My Dear Mr. Koll,
At the request of the President, I wrote to inform you that the Purple Heart has been awarded posthumously to your son, First Lieutenant Norbert D. Koll, Air Corps, who sacrificed his life in the defense of his country.

Little that we can do or say will console you for the death of your loved one.  We profoundly appreciate the greatness of your loss, for in a very real sense the loss suffered by us in this battle for our country, is a loss shared by all of us.  When the medal, which you will shortly receive reaches you, I want you to know that with it goes my sincerest sympathy, and that hope that time and the victory of our cause will finally lighten the burden of your grief.
Sincerely yours,  Henry L. Stinson.

Source: The Mapleton Press, July 20, 1944