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Walter E. White Jr.
Walter E. White Jr.
(1923 - 2016)
Tail Gunner
Hamilton Crew 604
completed 30 missions
Life before the War
Walter E White Jr was born on 12 December 1923 in Austin, Texas. He had one older sister, Dorothy. His father, Walter "Coffee" Sr, was married to Bessie Robertson. He was a butcher by trade, but through the depression he worked several different types of jobs.
After graduating from Austin High School in December 1941, Walter went to work at the Kelly Air Force Depot in San Antonio in the aircraft electrical department. Later he transferred to Bergstrom AFB, a new airfield which had been established outside of Austin. He worked there until receiving his draft notice in 1943.
Into the Army
Walter reported to Duncan Field at Fort Sam in San Antonio armed with a letter written by a Major stationed at Bergstrom AFB suggesting that with his experience, Walter should be assigned to the Army Air Force. The Army agreed and Walter became a pilot cadet, taking his pre-flight at Kelly Field followed by primary training at Vernon, Texas. With the exception of one student, his hard-nosed instructor flunked the entire class, including Walter.
He was sent to Witchata Falls to attend aircraft mechanics school, but a bad wisdom tooth prevented him starting class. After his tooth was pulled, he was transferred to Herington, Texas, for aerial gunners school. Upon graduating, Walter was sent to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was assigned as tail gunner to the Capt Gendreizig Crew.
The Gendreizig Crew was sent to the 330th Crew Combat Training School at Biggs, Texas, located just outside of El Paso. While in training, Walter had his tonsils removed. After recovering, he was reassigned as tail gunner to the Capt Hurley Crew. In early March 1944, his crew was assigned to the 492nd BG in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Training Record
1943: Inducted into the Army at Austin, TX
Pilot Pre-flight School, Kelly Field, TX
Primary Flight Training, Vernon, TX
Aerial Gunnery School: Herington, TX
Crew Assignment Center: Salt Lake City, UT
Crew Combat Training: Biggs Field, TX
492nd Bomb Group: Alamogordo, NM
Service with the 492nd Bomb Group
Walter's time at Alamogordo was short as the Group quickly passed their POM (Preparation for Overseas Movement) inspection only ten days after his crew's arrival. The next month they flew to England via the southern route.
Shortly after arriving to North Pickenham, England, Capt Hurley was promoted to Squadron Operations Officer and Lt Hamilton took over the crew. Walter flew his first mission with a different crew, but his next twenty-nine were with Lt Hamilton. His mission record shows he got his equal share of flying the tough missions as well as the easy ones. With his tour finished, Walter returned to the US for a new assignment.
Service in the USA
After a short leave and return to active duty, Walter was first sent to Biloxi, Mississippi, where he was trained (again) as an aircraft electrician. After graduating he was assigned to a B-17 outfit training in Biloxi for sea search and rescue operations. Their job was to find airmen and sailors stranded in the ocean and drop them a life raft until they could be picked up. From there his unit was sent to Buckley Field in Denver, Colorado, to await their orders to the Pacific.
Meanwhile a breakout of spiral menengitis was discovered in Biloxi. Those recently stationed there were brought back for a two-week quarentined examination. Once found to be healthy, Walter was sent to Jackson, Mississippi, to work as an aircraft electrician on fighter planes. He stayed there until the end of the war. He was discharged from the Army in October 1945 at Randolph AFB, San Antonio, Texas.
After the war
Walter got a civilian job again at Bergstrom AFB. In 1948 he joined the Air Force Reserve. During that same year he began dating Joye Clark who was attending the University of Texas. She was the daughter of a cotton farmer up in Redwater, Texas.
The year 1951 became another imporatant year for Walter. First he married Joye soon after she had graduated from college. She became 3rd grade teacher. Then his Reserve unit was activated for the Korean War. Walter was attached to the Texas Air National Guard's P-51 unit and sent to George AFB in California where Walter worked in the Air Inspector's office. Perhaps Walter would have been sent overseas, but his enlistment with the Air Force Reserve was coming to an end and he had already planned on leaving so he could attend college. After thirteen months of active service, Walter was discharged from service for the second time.
Walter enrolled at the University of Texas, taking night and weekend classes while still working full time at Bergstrom. He graduated in 1959 with a degree in Industrial Management. He continued to work at Bergstrom and began working on his Masters degree at what is now known as Texas State University in San Marcos. He earned his MA in Industrial Arts in 1972.
After thirty years of civil service at Bergstrom, Walter retired only to take a teaching position at a local high school. He taught a variety of different industrial art classes, more commonly known as Shop. After sixteen years of teaching he and his wife retired for good. He keeps in shape by swimming and playing golf.
Walter's other post-war accomplishments are found in his two sons and his five grandchildren as they continue the family traditions of military service and attending college.
Both of his sons are college graduates. His oldest son, David Brian White, retired as a Lt Colonel from the Air Force. Today he works for Sandia National Laboratories, a research institution for the US Department of Energy. His second son, Gregory Clark White, is a chemical engineer for Targa Resources in Midland, Texas.
In turn Walter's two grandsons are both serving in the military. Craig is a Navy Seal while the younger one, Ross, is currently attending West Point. His granddaughters, Leah Rene and Lauren Michelle, are already in college and Morgan will be just as soon as she finishes high school.
Walter passed away on November 29, 2016.
More Info
by Walter White
Hurley CCT 1634
Hurley Crew 604
Crew 604
492nd Mission 1
11 May 44
492nd Mission 4
15 May 44
492nd Mission 7
23 May 44
492nd Mission 8
24 May 44
492nd Mission 9
25 May 44
492nd Mission 11
28 May 44
492nd Mission 12
29 May 44
492nd Mission 14
31 May 44
492nd Mission 17
6 Jun 44
492nd Mission 21
10 Jun 44
492nd Mission 23
La Possonniere
11 Jun 44
492nd Mission 27
14 Jun 44
492nd Mission 31
18 Jun 44
492nd Mission 39
23 Jun 44
492nd Mission 40a
La Vaupeliere
25 Jun 44
492nd Mission 41
27 Jun 44
492nd Mission 42
28 Jun 44
492nd Mission 45
6 Jul 44
492nd Mission 46
7 Jul 44
492nd Mission 48
11 Jul 44
492nd Mission 47
12 Jul 44
492nd Mission 56
St Lo
24 Jul 44
492nd Mission 57
St Lo
25 Jul 44
492nd Mission 58
29 Jul 44
492nd Mission 60
1 Aug 44
492nd Mission 61
3 Aug 44
492nd Mission 62
4 Aug 44
492nd Mission 65
6 Aug 44
492nd Mission 66
7 Aug 44
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Page last modified Monday, August 12, 2019.