Sgt. William ‘’Bill’’ Becker

Sgt. William ‘’Bill’’ Becker

492nd Bomb Group, 856th Bomb Squadron, 8th Air Force

William was born in the Bronx, New York City on February 7, 1926 and graduated from high school in 1943. Prior to enlisting in the Army Air Force, he worked as a propeller mechanic at Casey Jones School of Aeronautics and then at Curtis Wright propeller straightening school in New Jersey. He was chiefly concerned with straightening propeller blades, removing kinks, hammered blades into line and tested propellers for balance.

He entered active service April 17, 1944 attending basic training at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi and trained as a top turret gunner at Tyndall AFB, Panama City, Florida. His crew was sent to Harrington, England where they were assigned to the 801st/492nd Bombardment Group code name ” CARPETBAGGERS.” This group was the air arm of the OSS, the pre-runner to the CIA. The group flew many covert missions to the French, Norwegian and Danish underground dropping spies and supplies at night only when there was a moonlit sky to guide the B-24 Liberator Heavy Bombers to their targets.

Within six months, William and his crew flew seven missions and was awarded the Air Medal. He was honorably discharged on March 27, 1946. The CARPETBAGGERS were awarded the French Croix de Guerre in 1987.