Retired Air Force Brigadier General William W. Spruance

Retired Air Force Brigadier General William W. Spruance was born December 5, 1916, in Wilmington, Del., and died Jan. 15, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nev. He was commissioned in 1939 as a second lieutenant in U.S. Army Field Artillery upon his graduation from Princeton University ROTC. He entered active duty a year later, assigned to the 2d Armored Division at Ft. Benning, Ga., as a field artillery forward observer. He transferred to the Army Air Corps in 1942 and completed flight training in 1943. Assigned to the Troop Carrier Command, in 1944 he activated and commanded the 4th Combat Cargo Squadron. He completed his 362nd combat mission while flying the High Hump in the China-Burma-India Theater ferrying troops and supplies during World War II. Released from active duty in October 1945, he helped form the Delaware Air National Guard, organized in September, 1946. He was named the first assistant adjutant general for air, Delaware National Guard, with the rank of brigadier general, in 1956, and retired from that post in 1976. After surviving a fiery crash as a passenger in a T-33 in 1961, he made thousands of presentations on flying safety and crash survival and continued his lifelong support of aviation education and Air National Guard service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Delaware Air National Guard)

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