William D. Croom, Jr.


 

Preferred Name: Bill

Nickname/Call Sign: Bill

Date of Birth: April 10, 1942

Highest Military Grade Held: Lieutenant Colonel, 05

Hometown: Durham, NC

Biography

In his words…

I was with the 309 TFS, 31st TFW. I flew 218 missions; 218 takeoffs and 217 landings.

Absolutely the most rewarding professional time I spent in the Air Force was flying Tactical Fighter missions in Vietnam, supporting the troops…doing the things I was trained to do, and I believed were important to do, with a wonderful bunch of people…Being away from home is not much fun, being 12,000 miles from those you love but I believed the missions made it all worth it.

The memories I have are special.

Why I have only 217 landings…

One day we launched off the pad and as I was climbing out the engine started compressor stalling. By the fourth or fifth time with cleaned wings, I headed home and the engine vibrated and seized. Flames came out both ends, and that was when I became a glider pilot. I was not qualified in gliders. They wrote it off as a combat loss. The engine failed, probably. We occasionally got “plinked” at (shot at) so I’m not sure if someone shot a round through the engine, but it was 18 minutes from the time I left the airplane until I was picked up. Instead of having to wait for Saigon to initiate search and rescue and scratching around in their air-conditioned offices trying to figure out what to do, Pedro came off the base, turned his radio off because they were telling him to return to base, and came out and picked me up. I bought Pedro a lot of beer.

For Bill’s full story, see the Video tab.

 

board member and as treasurer of the Pikes Peak USO and the Air Academy Federal Credit Union. He is currently on the board of directors of the Pikes Peak Community College Foundation and is a member of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council.

Units Assigned

  • 11/1963 – 10/1964 Laughlin AFB, Del Rio, TX,  UPT T-37 & T-33
  • 11/1964 – 11/1968 Moody AFB, GA, IP T-37
  • 11/1968 – 6/1969 121st TFS, 113th TFW, Myrtle Beach AFB, SC, CCTS Upgrade F-100
  • 7/1969 – 6/1970 309th TFS, 31st TFW, Tuy Hoa AB, RVN,  Combat Tour F-100: 218 Combat Missions
  • 6/1970 – 8/1974 Reese AFB, TX, IP/Chief, Officer TNG T-38
  • 8/1974 – 8/1980 Randolph AFB, TX & Staff Jobs T-39
  • 8/1980 – 3/984 USAFA, CO, T-41 Ops Off/Staff Jobs T-41
  • Retired March 31, 1984

Awards & Decorations

Air Force PUC Presidential Citation

AfCivServe.png Exceptional Service Award

 Medal of Merit

Colorado AFAer of the Year

Flight Info

T-33

T-37

T-38

T-39

T-41

F-100

218 Combat Missions

Military Education

  • SOS & AFSC (corres.)
  • AWC (seminar)
  • ICAF (corres.)

Civilian Education

1963 B.S./B.A.-Marketing, University of North Carolina

Biography

Biography

In his words…

I was with the 309 TFS, 31st TFW. I flew 218 missions; 218 takeoffs and 217 landings.

Absolutely the most rewarding professional time I spent in the Air Force was flying Tactical Fighter missions in Vietnam, supporting the troops…doing the things I was trained to do, and I believed were important to do, with a wonderful bunch of people…Being away from home is not much fun, being 12,000 miles from those you love but I believed the missions made it all worth it.

The memories I have are special.

Why I have only 217 landings…

One day we launched off the pad and as I was climbing out the engine started compressor stalling. By the fourth or fifth time with cleaned wings, I headed home and the engine vibrated and seized. Flames came out both ends, and that was when I became a glider pilot. I was not qualified in gliders. They wrote it off as a combat loss. The engine failed, probably. We occasionally got “plinked” at (shot at) so I’m not sure if someone shot a round through the engine, but it was 18 minutes from the time I left the airplane until I was picked up. Instead of having to wait for Saigon to initiate search and rescue and scratching around in their air-conditioned offices trying to figure out what to do, Pedro came off the base, turned his radio off because they were telling him to return to base, and came out and picked me up. I bought Pedro a lot of beer.

For Bill’s full story, see the Video tab.

 

board member and as treasurer of the Pikes Peak USO and the Air Academy Federal Credit Union. He is currently on the board of directors of the Pikes Peak Community College Foundation and is a member of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council.

Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

  • 11/1963 – 10/1964 Laughlin AFB, Del Rio, TX,  UPT T-37 & T-33
  • 11/1964 – 11/1968 Moody AFB, GA, IP T-37
  • 11/1968 – 6/1969 121st TFS, 113th TFW, Myrtle Beach AFB, SC, CCTS Upgrade F-100
  • 7/1969 – 6/1970 309th TFS, 31st TFW, Tuy Hoa AB, RVN,  Combat Tour F-100: 218 Combat Missions
  • 6/1970 – 8/1974 Reese AFB, TX, IP/Chief, Officer TNG T-38
  • 8/1974 – 8/1980 Randolph AFB, TX & Staff Jobs T-39
  • 8/1980 – 3/984 USAFA, CO, T-41 Ops Off/Staff Jobs T-41
  • Retired March 31, 1984

Awards & Decorations

Air Force PUC Presidential Citation

AfCivServe.png Exceptional Service Award

 Medal of Merit

Colorado AFAer of the Year

Flight Info

T-33

T-37

T-38

T-39

T-41

F-100

218 Combat Missions

Military Education

  • SOS & AFSC (corres.)
  • AWC (seminar)
  • ICAF (corres.)

Civilian Education

1963 B.S./B.A.-Marketing, University of North Carolina

Video