William D. Croom
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.
Bill served as a 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.
- 11/1963-10/1964 UPT, Laughlin AFB, Del Rio, TX (T-37, T-33)
- 11/1964-11/1968 Moody AFB, GA, (IP T-37)
- 11/1968-6/1969 121st Tactical Fighter Squadron/113th Tactical Fighter Wing, Myrtle Beach AFB, SC (CCTS Upgrade F-100)
- 7/1969-6/1970 309th Tactical Fighter Squadron/31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Tuy Hoa AB, Vietnam: 218 Combat Missions (F-100)
- 6/1970-8/1974 IP/Chief, Officer TNG, Reese AFB, TX (T-38)
- 8/1974-8/1980 Staff Jobs, Randolph AFB, TX (T-39)
- 8/1980-3/984 Ops Off/Staff Jobs, USAFA, CO (T-41)
- 3/31/1984 Retired USAF
Awards & Decorations
Presidential Unit Citation
Exceptional Service Award
Medal of Merit
Colorado AFA’er of the Year
F-100: 218 Combat Missions
Military & Civilian Education
- SOS & AFSC (correspondence)
- AWC (seminar)
- ICAF (correspondence)
- 1963 BS/BA-Marketing, University of North Carolina