William J. "Bill" Beck was a Junior at Texas A&M when he took his flight physical at Randolph Field in November of 1940. Leaving school in January 1941, he enlisted at Ft. Bliss, Tx. on March 17, 1941 and was sent to Santa Maria, California for primary flight training. Then he went to Moffet Field for basic and on to Mather Field for advanced training. He graduated October 31, 1941 and along with 10 of his graduating class sailed on the USS Holbrook from San Francisco harbor on November 22, 1941 headed for the Philippines. Due to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the ship was diverted to Australia.



At Brisbane, Bill was initially assigned to the 17th BS/27th BG and in late March 1942 to the 8th BS/3rd BG at Charters Towers. In August of the same year, he was assigned to the 89th BS/3rdBG. While with the 89th BS, Captain Beck was awarded the DFC for his participation in the Battle of the Bismark Sea as well as an Air Medal with an Oak Cluster.







Upon his return to the States in June 1943 (married in September 1943) Bill was sent to an A-20 wing in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on to an A-20 unit at Tinker Field and after 2 weeks to an A-20 RTU at Florence, South Carolina. He was the operations officer with one of the squadrons and had a number of the pilots  go on to the 3rd BG. About a year later, he went to an A-26 training base at Battle Creek; helped start an A-26 RTU at Marianna, Florida, where he was the Base Operations Officer. From there he was assigned to 3rd Army Air Force Headquarters as a Flying Safety Officer and released from active duty in January of 1946.  Bill returned to A&M; graduated in August 1947 and went to Sacramento, CA as a store management trainee at Sear, Roebuck and CO.  Entered the Air Force Reserves 13 July 1952 and became Squadron Commander of a unit at Mather Field, which had a squadrons of B-25s, Convair 240, 340, and 440s and a squadron of B-50s.

Sent to FEAF in January 1954 from Mather Field and on to JASDF at Nagoya, Japan. The 5th  Air Force moved in and took over.   I was the Chief, Combat Operations Center and then Chief Operations Services Division. 

Checked out in T-33s in Korea.  From there to Hdqs USAF as an Operations Staff Officer, Fighter Branch, Operations Control Division, DCS/O.

From there to CINCPAC, Camp Smith, Hawaii , checking out in F-86Fs on the way. Then to the Air War College. Then to the JCS as a Staff Officer in the Special Assistant for Military Assistance Officer.  From there to the Office of Information, Hq ATC, Randoph AFB.                                                                                                          

Colonel William J. Beck retired from the USAF September 30, 1969.

Bill Beck @ 3 Mile Video

This film was taken in late 1942 at '3 Mile' also known as Kila Kila Aerodrome and the home of the 89th attack Squadron (Douglas A-20s), 3rd Bomb Group, USAAF. The staff car is a 1940 Plymouth. Standing by the right front fender is Captain Robert 'Scout' Lauer, the Squadron armament officer. The pilot shown in the film is William J Beck.

The aircraft, 40-109, named the 'Spook' was flown by Captain Ed Larner, before he became Commanding Officer of the 90th Squadron 3rd Bomb Group. He was killed on 30 April when a wing fell off his B-25 Mitchell while landing at Dobodura. The crew chief was Meredith Bryant. The Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk taking off belonged to the 49th Fighter Group, USAAF; one of their squadrons was also located on 3 Mile.

Take off started from the Port Moresby end of the field. Kila Kila hill can be seen in the background. According to official Army records, 40-109 crashed on take-off on January 26, 1943 and the pilot, Lieutenant Williamson, was killed; the gunner returned to duty. Cause of the accident was a tire blow out on take-off.


Bill Beck submitted these postcards showing Townsville 1942.



Bill Beck   2010

Bill Beck - Arthur "Mac" McCain     

Bill Beck at Elmendorf

I just had a 1:20 flight in a B-25 that belongs to Bill Klaers who owns Westpac Restorations. Colleen set it up for me.  I have a North American B-25 type rating on my pilot’s license.  We tried to do this last Monday but the wiind and gusts were too strong.  Bill called about 0715 this AM and asked if I was ready. So we got it done today.  I took off and landed and strafed Meadowlake airport………, a private field near here. Great fun. I flew right seat. The propeller is spinning but my camera stopped it. The guy is Bill Klaers, he owns several aircraft. This B-25 has taken off of 5 carriers.  He has a group in Australia trying to locate enough parts to build an A-20.  They are also looking in PNG    I gave him a DVD of Swamp Boss which shows an A-20 being recovered from a swamp in PNG

Bill Beck