CO 41-23798 6 6 29 ~ ~ 00-3 WILLIAM R. KNIGHT

Contributor - Ronald Knight
Shown with My Father, William Robert Knight (Pilot), born 4 Oct 17, in Parkville, Missouri. He was a Lieutenant when he joined the 29th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 6th Air Force, in the Galapagos Islands in about April, 1943. The squadron previously had B-18 Bolos. Dad was one of the Flight Leaders and went on the first patrol in the B-24s. The fact that he was in "A Flight" as well makes me think he was chosen because he was one of the best pilots. They lost only 2 planes, both to crashes, and dad located both of them. One plane had hit a mountain on a cloud-hidden island (no survivors) and the other had survivors on a tiny island. He located them by searching in an O-47A. He also always told the story of being on patrol and being notified, by his radioman, of my birth in September, 1943. He was promoted to Captain and finally rotated home in 1945 and immediately joined United Air Lines (his pre-war plan all along). He said the the few months difference in his discharge versus other UAL pilots made a huge difference in company seniority and thus their careers. He did eventually end up flying DC-10's, but I know he would have loved to have gotten to 747's (and the pay level). He stayed in the Reserves as a Major, but I don't know when he finally got out, possibly in the mid to late fifties. His United career started in Denver for training, then Seattle and then, in 1954, in the New York area. He flew DC-3's. -4's, -6's, -7's, Convair 240's and 340's, the Sud Caravelle, Boeing 720's, 727's and the DC-10.
Incidentally, after college he tried to join the Army Air Corps in 1939, but they weren't taking anyone. He therefore joined United Airlines as a passenger agent in Alameda, California, and took private flying lessons. Needless to say, in December, 1941, they did start taking pilots and Dad, now married, started Army Air Force training in Arizona.
He died 20 Jun 2010, in San Jose, California. I arranged a fly-over by an EAA flight demo team for dad's funeral. They did the "missing-man" maneuver with 5 planes.

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B-24 Best Web. Published on Veterans Day 11/11/97. Last modified: 27-Mar-2021