After serving as a navigator in the Army Air Force in World War II, William Sinclair was contacted in 1947 about competing for a commission in the newly formed Air Force. He graduated in July 1949 from pilot training and 18 months later, he was off to serve in the Korean War, assigned to the 8th Fighter Bomber Squadron. The Korean War introduced new aircraft and technology, which also meant inexperienced pilots making errors, some of them fatal. Sinclair flew over 100 missions, dropping napalm on enemy troops and attacking supply trains. When his replacement arrived early, Sinclair left two days before his tour was complete; two days later, his old base was overrun and his replacement was killed.
Full Transcript from Interview with William Donald Sinclair
Transcribed Excerpt 2 from Interview with William Donald Sinclair
- Why might new and replacement soldiers be eager to jump into their roles?
- What might have happened if Sinclair's replacement would have arrived on time instead of arriving early?
Sinclair, William D., "Oral history interview with William Donald Sinclair," Veterans History Project, 2 April 2004. Courtesy of Library of Congress