52 Colony Point Drive
Punta Gorda, Florida 33950-5028
March 22, 1997

Dear Bob,
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

Pensacola Pre-Flight Class 15-48