William Lee Moore
Class of 1940
Bill was ordered to report to one of the Navyâ€™s air groups: Squadron Fifteen. Which in turn was attached to the U.S. Navy carriers Hornet, Essex and the Bunker Hill. Bill took part in many naval battles and on at least one occasion after returning from battle he counted over one hundred bullet holes in his airplane including one or two striking the back of his seat. He said the airplane was so badly damage it was just pushed over the side of the aircraft carrier.
Bill and others were sent on one mission with not enough fuel to return. After striking his target he began his return flight. He realized before night fall that there was no chance he and his gunner would close the distance in time to make a dry landing. And he didnâ€™t want to attempt a ditch in the pitch black of night. So he lined up with the rolling waves and coordinated the landing of his airplane on the top of a moving wave. He and his gunner transferred into their dingy and slowly watched their airplane sink into the Pacific: with not a soul in any direction.
After the war Bill went to work for United Airlines and flew for them for over 30 years. Because of his over water experience, United choose Bill as part of the crew to fly the first commercial Jet aircraft (DC-8) to the Hawaiian Island from Los Angeles.
In 1996 Bill was inducted into the Legion of Valor.
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