52 Colony Point Drive
Punta Gorda, Florida 33950-5028
March 22, 1997
I was able to pick out of few guys from our class picture. Some were my room mates at various times. You did pick me out – amazing! The following is an auto-bio – hope not too long. Cut out as much as you want.
After getting my wings I joined VF-13 (F4U-5) at JAX. When the Korean War broke out I was transferred to VF-32 (F4U-4) at Oceana. Married Mary in July 1950. Was aboard USS LEYTE [CV-32] (Korea) 8/50-2/51, then to Quonset Pt. R.I. for 2 months, then to Sanford, FL. I left VF-32 and the Navy in June 1952 (VF-32 did not go on a med cruise in 1951). Worked a year in father’s construction business & flew in the reserve at Squantum (FG-1D) & So. Weymouth (F9F-6). Joined American Airlines in Boston in June 1953. Stayed 35 years to June 1988 (hit the age limit). Based in BOS (Boston), N.Y., & DFW (Dallas) flying CV-240, DC-6, DC-7, L-188 (Electra), BAC-111, B-727, B-707, DC-10 (best of all) & B-747 (DFW – Tokyo 14 hrs. & 9 time zones, ugh!) Took up sailing 40 years ago and am still at it. Have a Sonar 23 at my dock for racing (bought it in Rochester, N.Y.) We also have a Grand Banks (trawler) 49 that we live aboard during the summers at Northeast Harbor, Maine. Son (Capt. For American Eagle) & wife, daughter & husband and 3 grand kids take turns cruising the Maine coast with us. Had a V-35B Bonanza for many years and used it for transportation from Fla. To Maine, Canada, Bahamas, etc. Great plane! Had a super Decathlon to play with for a few years. Sold it two years ago and haven’t flown since. Wound up with 50 yrs. Of flying (got my license at 16) and just short of 25,000 hours. Enough, I guess. Mary and I have anniversary #47 coming up and we are happy in sunny Florida. You have a great idea, Bob. A history of our class would be great. I would like a copy of all the “heads” when you have identified as many guys as you can.
I do have an original photograph. I’ve been going over it with a magnifying glass. Thanks again for the letter, & good luck with your project.
/s/ Bill Wilkinson