1st Lt. William R. Hill - World War II Veteran
At age 23, Bill had earned a Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal and three Oak Leaf Clusters. The P-47 Thunderbolt Fighter Pilot, flying out of his base in Corsica, by that time had 117 missions and twelve times come close to death when his plane had suffered damage. Once artillery entered the plane beneath his feet and exited above his head. Bill’s P-47 carried two 1,000 lb. bombs, which were released first. Then the plane became a fighter and strafing plane, flying low and shooting .50 caliber machine guns. Bill was the flight leader the day his outfit received the Presidential Citation. The P-47’s had all released their bombs and were returning to their base looking for additional targets of opportunity. Outside a town they saw a convoy of German trucks on the main street. Four planes, including Bill’s, flew low while the rest stayed above them for protection. Flying through the town at the height of a church roof and dodging defensive fire, they strafed the truck convoy. They made six passes in all in that town and communicated to others in their squadron the enemy presence in the area. Altogether they accounted for 165 enemy trucks and tanks afire and an equal number shot up and disabled. They later learned that they had knocked out a whole division of Hermann Goering’s armored division.
JoAnne P. Miller