From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Counts '45

Date of birth: July 10, 1923

Date of death: November 9, 1961

Age: 38

Lucky Bag

From the 1945 Lucky Bag:


William was lost when the P2V-7LP Neptune he was aboard crashed while taking off from Wilkes Station, Antarctica, on November 9, 1961.

From VP Navy:

LOCATION: Wilkes Station, Antarctica TYPE: Crash SRIKE: Yes DEATHS: 05 BUNO: 140439 CAUSE: Crashed while taking off from Wilkes Station, Antarctica, Nov 9 1961 in support of Operation Deep Freeze 1962. While taking off from the skiway at Wilkes Station Antarctica the Neptune caught fire and crashed. Of the nine men on board, only four survived. Killed were Dr. Edward C. Thiel, LCDR William C. Counts, LTJG Romauld P. Compton, AMH1 William W. Chastain, and AD2R James L. Grey. A investigation of the crash reported the cause as a collision with the ground following an intense, uncontrollable fire in the landing gear - bomb bay fuel tank area.

(from: United States aircraft losses in Antarctica). WebSite: Antarctic Development Squadron Six http://www.vaq34.com/vxe6/p2v.htm [19APR2008]

An eyewitness account of the crash is titled The All American Boy.

From the December 1961 issue of Shipmate:

On 9 November 1961 BILL COUNTS, recently attached to VX-6 in the Antarctic, crashed in the P2V he commanded, causing the death of Bill and his crew. The crash occurred at Wilkes Station on a flight to McMurdo Sound. Bill is survived by his widow, Jeannette, and four children, to whom the class extends deepest sympathy.

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Horace Bayless '45 was also in 20th Company.

Class of 1945

William is one of 59 members of the Class of 1945 on Virtual Memorial Hall.