Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Jack T McWilliams

Military

Born in Arizona, Jack T. McWilliams grew up in Somers, Montana where his parents had moved. He was a graduate of the Flathead High School. In July of 1942, he enlisted in the Air Corps in Kalispell, Montana and completed his pilot training in Texas. After receiving his commission, he married Jean Bull on 6 May 1944 before leaving for the European Theater of Operations. A pilot in the 405th Fighter Squadron, he served during the Normandy invasion, in Southern France and in the Rhineland, Germany.
1st Lt. McWilliams was Pilot of P-47 #44-20149 lost on his 36th combat mission on the morning of 14 January 1945. The dive-bombing raid to Haguenau, France just west of the Rhine River, northwest of Baden-Baden, Germany, was led by Major Gavan C. Robertson Jr of Jackson, Mississippi. It was meant to support the troops of the US Army’s VI Corps area, engaged in hard fighting during Operation Nordwind, the last German offensive on the Western front during World War II in an attempt to retake the industrial zones in the Haguenau area as well as draw American troops from the Ardennes region where the Battle of the Bulge still raged.
After bombing the target, the 12 Thunderbolts of the formation were suddenly attacked by more than a dozen Me109s fighters. The German pilots relentlessly made quick pass and run attacks and Major Robertson called for the formation to break up, but shortly thereafter an Me109 fired a short burst at McWilliams’ plane. One of his P-47’s gas tanks was seen to explode, the plane started spinning and, according to Lt Malcolm McLeod’s statement, he saw it still spinning at about 5,000 feet when it disappeared from sight. Jack McWilliams was not seen to bail out of his stricken Thunderbolt.
He was officially declared dead in 1946, although he was still MIA (Missing In Action.)
[ He is listed as FOD (Found Officially Dead) in the WWII Casualties for Jackson County, Oregon at http://media.nara.gov/media/images/29/17/29-1608a.gif ]
On 4 January 1952, the U.S. Defense Department informed his parents that the remains of their son and his aircraft had been found in the Hatten Forest, Northeast of Haguenau in December 1951. His body arrived in Kalispell on 12 March 1952 and he was buried on Saturday the 15th in the Veterans section of the Conrad Memorial Cemetery, his parents, his wife Jean, his brother Gerald, aged 16 and a sister, Myrle, among others attending the funeral.

Service

Units served with

Aircraft

Missions

  • 792

    14 January 1945

Events

Event Location Date
Born Bisbee, Arizona, United States 9 May 1922

the son of John Vernon McWilliams (WWI US Navy veteran) and Opal Cora McWilliams

Lived in Somers, Flathead County, Montana, United States 1942
Enlisted Kalispell, Montana, United States 27 July 1942

as a Private in the Air Corps

Killed In Action (KIA) Hatten, near Haguenau, France 14 January 1945

Was shot down by an Me109 fighter

Buried Conrad Memorial Cemetery, Kalispell, Flathead County, Montana 15 March 1952

His body was found in December 1951 near the remains of his P-47. Repatriated to the United States for burial.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 April 2020 20:06:03 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

Added a "#" to the A/C serial number in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity & consistency.

Date Contributor Update
04 September 2015 14:39:28 ED-BB Changes to events
Sources

Added parents' names

Date Contributor Update
04 September 2015 14:37:07 ED-BB Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations, mission associations and media associations
Sources

MACR 11327
NARA WWII Enlistment records
NARA WWII Casualties records

Share