|Birth: ||Dec. 17, 1907|
|Death: ||Feb. 17, 1949, Argentina|
Cause of Death: Airplane crash
"Courtesy of the Presque Isle, ME Air Museum."
COL. GERALD EVAN WILLIAMS 1907 - 1949
Known in his youth as "Evan" in Presque Isle, he was one of the first in Aroostook County to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, after which, as a 2nd Lieutenant, he entered the Army Air Corps. He chose to advance in multi-engined aircraft, the medium- and heavy-bombers of the late 1930s.
He was soon honored to be one of the pilots of a pioneering flight of six early YB-17A "Flying Fortress" four-engined bombers on a good-will flight to South America (President Roosevelt's prescient Hemispheric Defense Initiative) in 1938, flying 6,000 miles from Langley Field, Virginia, to Lima, Peru, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
During the Second World War, he became a renowned officer in the 9th Air Force as commander of the B-26 "Marauders" of the 90th Bombardment Group from 1943 to 1945. He personally led more than 75 missions, often placing himself as lead pilot in his B-26 "Lady Belle"* on low-level bombing runs against Axis targets in Occupied France. He was greatly admired by his fellow pilots and crews. He won Distinguished Flying Crosses from both the USAAF (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), as well as from the Royal Air Force, and the Croix de Guerre from liberated France.
* Named in honor of his Mother, Belle Williams, of Presque Isle. See photograph of the Red Cross's Gray Ladies, in WWII section of the Museum.
After the war, Col. Williams became Asst. Air Attaché to the American Embassy in Buenos Aires. Sadly, he and his wife were killed at an early age in a plane crash en route from Buenos Aires to Panama in 1949.
As a young lieutenant, Williams flew back to Presque Isle during a routine training flight in July of 1940. He piloted a Douglas B-18 "Bolo" twin-engined bomber flying directly to Presque Isle from Roosevelt Field on Long Island. The Museum has a photograph of the B-18 bomber parked in front of the old airport on outer Mechanic Street. Also one of him in front of his parents' home at 50 Park Street.
— Information courtesy of Sgt. F. E. "Ed" Maliar, ret., of Bohemia, NY, who as navigator accompanied Lt. Williams on this flight. Photograph of B-18 courtesy of Maurice A. "Spanky" White, Mapleton, Maine.
Myron L Williams (1881 - 1965)
J Belle Barrett Williams (1882 - 1985)
Marjorie Parker Williams (1912 - 1949)
Note: COL US Air Force
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
Plot: Sec H Site 259
Created by: Joan
Record added: Oct 19, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 78710432