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William T Seawell

Military

Commanding Officer of 401st BG from 5 December 1944 to 30 May 1945. Flew 30 missions. He later served as Commandant of the cadets at USAF Academy in Colorado and then as President and Chairman of Pan Amercian World Airways.

Silver Star/ Air Medal

A graduate of West Point in 1941, Colonel ( later Brigadier General) Seawell was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant with the US Army Air Corps and earned his wings in 1942. Posted in England with 401st Bombardment Group, he served as pilot and co-pilot, flying 20 missions between1943-45. He was remembered at Deenethorpe for flying Marlene Dietrich to her concert in September 1944 in B-17 Pakawalup with Captain Felix Kalinski and 1st Lt W Pfeiffer.

After the war his career in aviation involved post war air commands; a post as Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy; two years with the Air Transport Academy; senior vice-president for operations at American Airlines and president of Rolls-Royce Aero engines.

Recruited by Pan Am in 1971 as president and chief operating officer, he later took over as chairman and chief executive. Despite efforts to save Pan Am from economic decline, Pan Am’s operating costs continued to climb and he retired in 1981.

Service

Units served with

  • 401st Bomb Group

    401st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 401st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, from November 1943 to June 1945. Starting their missions at that time meant the focus was very much on the coming invasion attempt of France planned for the following...

  • 615th Bomb Squadron

Associated Place

  • Deenethorpe

    Military site : airfield
    Deenethorpe was a base purpose-built for American heavy bombers, with the Class A regulation 2,000 and 1,400-yard runways. All the buildings on site,such as the accommodation and administrative blocks, were temporary. In December 1943, several local...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Pine Bluff, Arkansas 27 January 1918
Died 20 May 2005

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
09 February 2016 13:12:33 Anne Hughes Changes to biography
Sources

401st Bomb Group Association
New York Times Obituary
Evening Telegraph 1992 souvenir supplement

Date Contributor Update
09 February 2016 13:08:56 Anne Hughes Changes to awards
Sources

New York Times Obituary

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:49 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum Membership List, July 2000; Whos Who in the Eighth Air Force and/or Biographical Directory Command & Staff Officers Eighth Air Force 1942-45, http://www.401bg.org/Main/History/Members/Details.aspx?ID=719

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