Capt. William H. Lewis


(F. Birtciel)

Capt. William H. Lewis

343rd FS - 17 May 1944 - February 1945

Assigned Aircraft

P-51D CY-G
P-51D CY-N
P-51D CY-S 44-13907

Mission History

Completed a 325 hours Combat Tour

Mission List
55th FG Mission # Date Target
227 05 September 1944 Suttgart
234 13 September 1944 Merseberg
316 03 February 1945 Berlin
Air Scores
Destroyed
Probable  
Damaged
Ground Scores
Destroyed  
Damaged  
Score Detail 05 September 1944  (5)Trainer destroyed (air) N/Goppingen
13 September 1944  Me-109 destroyed (air) Eisenach-Gotha
13 September 1944  Me-109 damaged (air) Eisenach-Gotha
03 February 1945  Ju-88 destroyed (air) Gartow
Notes Known as Bill
Home of record, San Mateo, California
ASN - O-732031
17 May 1944 - Joined the 343rd Fighter Squadron
October 1944 - Promoted from 1st Lieutenant to Captain
February 1945 - Transferred to 70th Replacement Depot
Ground Crew - S/Sgt. B. Swiger Sgt.  John T. Grodoski  and T/Sgt. James T. Marine
Awards
Memories Biography of Colonel William H. Lewis.

Born in New Jersey in 1921, William H. Lewis was raised in Pasadena, California. He attended high school and college in the Los Angeles area before entering the Army Air Forces cadet program in January 1942. He was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from flying school in October of that year.
Lieutenant Lewis served as a P-38 instructor at Williams Field, Arizona, until assignment to the 55th Fighter Group of the 8th Air Force in England in 1943. He flew P-38s in combat through D-Day, then the group transitioned to P-51 Mustangs. Lewis saw much air combat while flying P-51s and totalled eight air victories; four FW-190s, three Me-109s and a Ju-88. He qualified as a "Super Loco Buster" by destroying over 25 German trains.
On one occasion over Germany, Captain Lewis was credited with a victory over a German fighter without firing a shot. Both Lewis and the Me-109 pilot exchanged positions while in a near-vertical dive. As their speed increased, the 109 lost a wing and crashed. Lewis had enough altitude left and exercised "ammo austerity" and raced for home!
Following WWII, Major Lewis participated as a test pilot in the Air Force thunderstorm/lightning strike program at the All Weather Flying Division in P-61 Black Widows and P-80 Shooting Star jets. He was a C-54 operations officer during the Berlin Airlift, then returned to fighters as commanding officer of the 722nd Fighter Squadron flying F-86s and F-100s.
The remainder of Colonel Lewis' Air Force career was spent in airlift commands: 815th Tactical Airlift Squadron (C-130s); two combat tours in Vietnam; and a stint as Vice Commander of the 322nd Tactical Airlift Wing in Germany and finally commander of Forbes Air Force Base at Topeka, Kansas.

After retirement in August 1972, his civilian endeavours occurred in the petroleum industry. He lived near Vandenberg AFB, California with his "beautiful fighter pilot's wife of over 40 years and two dogs: a German Shepherd named Schweinhund and a Great Dane called Break Right." Bill passed away in 1986.

Additional Photographs Capt. William H. Lewis (F. Birtciel)
(L-R) S/Sgt. B. Swiger, Sgt. John T. Grodoski, T/Sgt.  James T. Marine and Capt. Lewis (F. Birtciel)
Capt. Lewis in the cockpit of CY-S (R. Abbey)
Nb. Photos open in new window.  Close new window to return to his page

Back to 343rd Fighter Squadron Pilots