William F. Pearce, LtCol USAF, Ret. “Headed West” on April 10, 2016.

A very brave WWII B-17, bombardier and navigator, Korean War and Vietnam fighter pilot flew his last mission to heaven on April 10, 2016.

Bill was born in Miami, Florida in 1925. In 1944, at age 19, he served in the 96th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. He instructed pilots in F-86, F-84, F-100, T-33, T-6 and F-86 airplanes. He flew 23 missions over Germany and 5 missions over Berlin, including flying cover for the Battle of the Bulge. Bill flew low-level flights to drop supplies and food to the desperate Dutch.

When Bill returned from WWII, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin. Always eager to be a fighter pilot since his youth and reading about the Red Baron, Bill became a USAF fighter pilot and flew 107 missions in an F-84 in Korea. On a mission in Korea, Bill escorted Ted Williams, a pilot, and Hall of Fame baseball player to a safe airfield when Williams’s airplane was damaged. Bill became an F-86 and F-100 instructor for the Tactical Air Command.

He became commandeer of the 1st Air Commando Squadron in Vietnam flying the A-1Skyraider. He flew 223 missions in Vietnam and on one mission; his plane received 200 bullet holes. For his military heroism, he received the Silver Star, 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 19 Air medals, the Air Force Accommodation Medal, 3 Unit Presidential Citations with bronze stars, a medal from the President of the Korean Republic, 11 major battle campaigns: 4 in Europe, three in Korea and 4 in Vietnam. Bill retired from the Air Force after serving 27 years and accepted a position as Director of Safety for TWA in Kansas City.

In 1978, he moved to Lakeway, Texas and became a real estate broker. He married Frances in 1991 and moved to The Hills, Texas in 1993. Bill was Founder Member of The Hills Golf Club. He enjoyed golf, his Tuesday poker group and his gun range buddies.

Bill is survived by his wife, Frances, his son Michael Pearce and wife, Whitney, grandson Devin, his daughter Kathy, granddaughter Alison, and great granddaughter, Brylee. In addition, surviving Bill is his stepson John Fainter III, his wife Allison and their children, Riley, Ryan, and John Wells Fainter IV. Preceding Bill in death was his beloved granddaughter Madison.

A Celebration of Life service [was] held at The Lakeway Church, and a military burial at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Help Our Wounded, C/O Rosie Babin, Palm Valley Blvd., Suite A, Round Rock, TX 78664 (HelpOurWounded.org); The Lakeway Church, 2203 Lakeway Blvd., Lakeway, TX 78734; St, David’s Medical Center Volunteer Scholarship Fund (SDMCHV Scholarship Fund), 919 E. 32nd Street, Austin, TX 78705; St. David’s Foundation, 1303 San Antonio St. Suite 500, Austin, TX 78701; or to The Settlement Home, 1600 Payton Gin Road, Austin, TX 78758.


Scroll to Top