Billy's Service in the Texas National Guard

Billy served, along with several of his friends, in the 111th Observation Squadron of the Texas National Guard. The picture above was taken from the 1940 yearbook of the TNG and shows the 111th. Billy is on the top row, second from the right. His friend Shirley "Lard" Estes is at the end of the row, next to him. Waley Garrett, another good friend, is sixth from the left in the second row. Lard became a B-17 heavy bomber pilot and served in England, too, where he and Billy were able to see each other occasionally. Waley also was a pilot but was killed in a stateside accident in late 1942 (see more information about Waley here; plus, a letter from Waley to Billy in April of 1941describes some of the doings of the unit).

TNG flag raising

These photographs, with 1940 dates on them, were found with Billy's papers. I studied every face in the picture of the "Engineering Crew" below, but was not able to find Billy or recognize Lard or Waley.

TNG Engineers

I think I may have spotted Billy in the group shot on the left below, although at this reduced image size you won't be able to tell. The man that looks like him to me is on the top row, just about in the middle, on the left of a much shorter man in a more jaunty style of cap.
TNG Personnel TNG camp

Above is the stamp that was one the reverse of all of these pictures, making us sure to what part of Billy's military service they pertained.

TNG planes

TNG planes

The unlabelled picture of planes at the right, as well as the one above, show thumbtack holes at the corners, evidence that they were probably considered important to Billy, at least at some time, since they were obviously tacked to a wall or bulletin board

Here is a PDF image of his discharge certificate. He was honorably discharged from the National Guard in November of 1940 because the increasing demands of college work kept him from being able to spend the required amount of time with the unit.

Later, in 1941, Billy decided to try and enlist in the regular Army Air Corps. In August of that year he received recommendation letters from two of his TNG officers. This set of PDF images shows

  • a cover letter from Congressman Albert Thomas, referrring to recommendations he made;
  • a letter from Shirley Estes, referring to recommendations from Billy's former officers in the TNG; and,
  • recommendation letters from two of these officers, Major Aubrey W. Schofield and Captain Earle T. Showalter


Back to Spring, 1941 Journal entries
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