Today in History – July 29, 1966 – Capt W.R. Gower flying F-100D #562956 is

William Ray Gower was born on November 19, 1934, in Marshfield, MO.  He was serving with the 615TFS/366TFW out of Phan Rang AB, Vietnam.

On 29 July 1966, W.R. was flying F-100D #562956 as Panther 3 on a mission over Dinh Tuong Province. “Capt. Gower, who was on his third combat mission in Viet Nam, died of “Multiple injuries from ground fire” suffered when his F100 fighter plane was shot down July 29. His body was found in the wreckage of his plane.”

“Officials…notified relatives here the pilot died of “Multiple injuries from ground fire”… while on his third combat mission. It was his first tour in Viet Nam. His wife told The Leader and Press today her husband began his Air Force career as a radar observer before entering flight school.

Capt. Gower became a B47 bomber pilot with the Strategic Air Command, where he remained from 1960 until last December when he was transferred to Luke AFB near Phoenix, Ariz., for fighter training in the F100.

Gower, a graduate of Marshfield High School, was well known as an athlete and had tried out with a Cincinnati Reds farm team before joining the Air Force. He is a former Southwest Missouri State College student.”

At the time of his death, “Capt. and Mrs. Gower had three children: a son, William Ray, Jr., *; and two daughters, Jolynn, *, and Dawn Rae, *.”

Sources: Dewey’s list and The Leader & Press, Springfield, MO, Tuesday, August 2, 1966.

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