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Walter Roland "Waddy" Young
4 September 1916 | Ponca City, OK
Walter Roland "Waddy" Young was born on 4 September 1916 at Ponca City, Oklahoma. He attended Ponca City High School, was the captain of the Wildcat Football team and received “All-State” honors in 1934. While at the University of Oklahoma, he was the first Oklahoman to be named an “All-American” football player and he played in the 1939 Orange Bowl. He was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers professional football team and played in the very first televised NFL game, against the Philadelphia Eagles on 22 October 1939.
9 January 1945 | Isley Field, Saipan, Mariana Islands
Enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the Army Air Corps on 1 January 1941 at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Completed primary flight training and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Air Forces. Flew the North American single-engine O-47A with the 118th Observation Squadron, 66th Observation Group stationed at Jacksonville Army Air Base, Florida. Graduated from multi-engine training and flew the Lockheed twin-engine B-34 on anti-submarine patrols while assigned to the 433rd Bomb Squadron, 45th Bomb Group stationed at Galveston Army Air Field, Texas. Served one tour of duty in Europe on B-24 Liberators and volunteered for the B-29 Program. Was selected to command “Crew A-5” during B-29 aircraft transition and combat crew training at Pratt Army Air Field, Kansas. In September 1944, deployed to the Central Pacific Theatre of Operations and was assigned to 20th Air Force, XXI Bomber Command, 73rd Bomb Wing, 497th Bombardment Group, 869th Bomb Squadron stationed at Isley Field on Saipan in the Mariana Islands. On 9 January 1945, he flew in the left seat as the Airplane Command Pilot aboard a Boeing B-29 Superfortress nicknamed “Waddy’s Wagon” (Serial #42-24598) Tail Code: A-Square-5. It was one of 72 aircraft launched in a multi-group formation to bombard the Musashino Aircraft Works and Nakajima Aircraft Engine Factory near Tokyo, Japan. After the bomb run, his aircraft was last sighted 10 miles east of Choshi Point off mainland Japan at 27,000 feet and descending to provide protection to B-29 A-Square-46 which was under attack from 15 Nakajima Ki-44 “Tojo” fighter planes. He was killed when his aircraft was forced to ditch at a geographic location of approximately 34 degrees North and 143 degrees East. The next day a B-17 “Dumbo” search plane was dispatched to the area, but no wreckage or survivors were ever found. He was declared KIA one year later.