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Birthdate & Date of Loss

Date of birth: July 10, 1923
Date of death: November 9, 1961
Age: 38

Lucky Bag

1945 Counts LB.jpg

From the 1945 Lucky Bag:

William Douglas Counts

Huntington, West Virginia

A southern rebel from West Virginia, "Willie" came to the Naval Academy after a year of chemistry at Marshall College. At once his pleasant disposition, natural sense of humor, and understanding nature made Bill a wonderful companion. Studies, sailing, dragging, and rope-climbing all came naturally to him. Almost every hop would find Bill out on the dance floor doing the "West Virginia Shuffle.'" Plebe year, when most of us were struggling with academics. Bill was playing chess with a wise expression on his face. His carefree personality has won him many friends among the plebes. as well as among his own classmates. There never was a more amiable rebel.

Battalion Soccer 4, 3; Chess Club 4, 3, 1; Vice-Pres., 1; German Club 4, 3, 1

The Class of 1945 was graduated in June 1944 due to World War II. The entirety of 2nd class (junior) year was removed from the curriculum.


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.

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Horace Bayless '45 was also in 20th Company.

Class Navigation

Class of 1945
William is one of 58 members of the Class of 1945 in Memorial Hall.
<< James Reid '45 Joseph Bolger, Jr. '45 >>