From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Nelson, Jr. '44

Date of birth: February 15, 1921

Date of death: April 6, 1956

Age: 35

Lucky Bag

From the 1944 Lucky Bag:


Bill was lost on April 6, 1956 "in a plane crash at sea." (Information from September 1956 issue of Shipmate.) The plane was a Douglas Skyraider; the crash was near San Clemente Island. The other two crewmen aboard were also lost.


From the November 1956 issue of Shipmate:

Bill was killed when his AD5N crashed about three miles southeast of Castle Rock, San Clemente Island, Calif., while making high-speed rocket runs in connection with certain evaluation work being conducted by Composite Squadron Thirty-Five. The aircraft sank in about 250 fathoms of water and the wreckage could not be recovered because of the extreme depth.

Bill had been the Maintenance Officer of this squadron for over a year and, prior to that, the Officer-in-Charge of VA(N) Team 27 which deployed to the Western Pacific in the USS BOXER during 1954. He was completing three years of sea duty and had already received orders to the U.S. Naval Academy for duty.

We who knew him know that he wouldn't have exchanged duty assignments with anyone because of his intense interest in, and devotion to, the carrier night and all-weather attack program; and he died in an attempt to further the cause of his squadron and the U. S. Navy. He will always be an outstanding example of the finest type of naval officer, courageous, gallant and highly intelligent; and will be with us always in memory.

Bill's widow, Gladys H. Nelson, will continue to live at 209 "G" Ave., Coronado, Calif., with their four children.

Class of 1944

William is one of 66 members of the Class of 1944 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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