A War-Torn Tale – Plane & Pilot Magazine | Aviation

3. W.l. Tingle Name On Cacm Wall.jpeg

Military service has always been a big part of my family’s heritage—and no doubt many others can relate. Learning more about the heroic and tragic story of one of my distant cousins—William L. Tingle—recently has provided an added boost to that sense of pride.

Both sides of my family can boast their fair share of those who nobly served our nation in the armed forces. My late father was extremely proud of that fact, even though he wasn’t a veteran himself. The closest he came was being a member of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University. My paternal grandfather, a Jamaican-born immigrant, served in the U.S. Army during World War I. After Pearl Harbor, my maternal grandfather ran away from an orphanage with his younger brother, lied about his age, and joined the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater as a staff sergeant.

My dad told me that one of my cousins from my grandmother’s Colorado-rooted side of the family served as a Naval aviator aboard the USS Hornet. I also had a great uncle on my mother’s side who served in the Navy during WWII. Another uncle—like myself and my father, a proud A&M graduate—flew as a navigator on a WWII bomber and recorded more than 100 missions in Korea and Vietnam.

One of Bill Tingle’s many telegrams to his wife, Charlotte, while he was stationed in England during World War II.

Given my family’s military background—which, by the way, has made holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day resonate more keenly in recent years—it’s no surprise my dad proudly told me about William L. Tingle, who went by Bill.

Since my father was born in 1941, he never knew his first cousin Bill, a copilot on a B-17 Flying Fortress, one of the most famous heavy bombers in history and a major factor in winning WWII. His airplane was shot down over Nazi-occupied France in 1942. Of the crew of 10, only four survived—and Tingle was not among them. I don’t recall much more than that, other than…

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