William C. 'Bill' Lane

BRANCH OF SERVICE
U.S. Army Air Forces

HOMETOWN
Iowa Park, TX

HONORED BY
John C. Burkhardt, SVC MOPH, Chapter 1919

ACTIVITY DURING WWII

T125127. HE JOINED THE ARMY ON MAY 27, 1938. HIS FIRST DUTY STATION WAS WITH THE 4TH COASTAL ARTILLERY AND SERVED HIS FIRST 2 YEARS IN PANAMA. HE JOINED THE ARMY AIR CORPS IN JULY 1940. HE RECEIVED FLIGHT TRAINING AT CROOKSTON, MINNESOTA, 30 HOURS BASIC FLYING; PITTSBURG, KANSAS, DEAD STICK LANDING AND MOBILE, ALABAMA, LIGHT PLANES AND BASIC GLIDER. HE WAS SO PROFICIENT AT FLYING GLIDERS, HIS NEXT ASSIGNMENT WAS AS GLIDER PILOT INSTRUCTOR AT BERGSTROM AIR FIELD, AUSTIN, TEXAS. HE THEN SERVED AS FLIGHT OFFICER, ARMY AIR CORPS, 81ST TROOP CARRIER SQUADRON, 436TH TROOP CARRIER GROUP, ASSIGNED TO THE EUROPEAN CAMPAIGN FLYING OUT OF ENGLAND. ON MARCH 24, 1945, WHILE PARTICIPATING IN OPERATION MARKET GARDEN, THE INVASION OF GERMANY, HE WAS FLYING A TANDEM FLIGHT WHERE THE TOW PLANE IS PULLING TWO GLIDERS, WITH HIS PLANE, CARGO GLIDER 4-A, BEING THE CLOSEST TO THE TOW PLANE. HE WAS CARRYING 13 MEMBERS OF THE 17TH AIRBORNE DIVISION ACROSS THE RHINE RIVER. IN THE AIR OVER WESSEL, GERMANY, THE TOW PLANE WAS SHOT DOWN WITH 20MM GERMAN ANTI-AIRCRAFT FIRE. WHEN THE TOW PLANE WAS HIT, SO WAS HIS GLIDER. THE NOSE OF THE GLIDER WAS SHOT OFF AND A PIECE OF FLAK WENT INTO HIS RIGHT FOOT. WITH ALL OF THIS HAPPENING, HE WAS ABLE TO SAFELY LAND HIS GLIDER SAVING HIS LIFE AND THAT OF EVERYONE ELSE ON BOARD. HE WAS THEN TRANSPORTED TO A HOSPITAL IN BELGIUM. BASED ON HIS EXEMPLARY SERVICE, HE RECEIVED NUMEROUS AWARDS AND DECORATIONS, INCLUDING THE PURPLE HEART, AIR MEDAL WITH OAK LEAF CLUSTER, AIR FORCE COMMENDATION MEDAL AND SEVERAL CAMPAIGN RIBBONS.