Wilson Roe Wood was born May 29, 1918 in Chico, TX to Maude Elizabeth and Charles Proctor Wood. He was raised in Wise County on acres of farm/ranch land where he often saw planes overhead from bases in Ft. Worth and Wichita Falls, TX. He grew up hunting, fishing, playing sports, and baling hay. He graduated from Chico High School in 1935 and played basketball at Wayland Baptist College in Plainview, TX for 2 years, then on to Baylor University in Waco, TX. His goal to become a flying cadet motivated him to enlist in the Army and wait for a slot. His enlistment took place on his Mom’s birthday, June 11, 1939 at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. After boot camp he went to Angel Island, CA for training before being assigned to Scofield Barracks and Wheeler Field, HI. In December of 1939 he got his Christmas wish when the Army Air Corps tapped him for primary flying training at Allen Hancock School of Aeronautics in Santa Maria, CA. He completed basic at Randolph Field and advanced at Kelly Field, graduating and commissioning on August 31, 1940, class of 40E.
His flying assignments were as follows:
34th Sqdn of 17th BG at McChord Field in Tacoma, WA
Carolina Maneuvers in Summer 1941 – Daniel Field in Augusta, GA
Temporary flying duty with NWA in Spokane, WA
After Pearl Harbor 1/3 of 17th BG went to Pendleton, OR for submarine patrol of West Coast ( This is where his fiancé, Evelyn Malone, traveled from TX to marry and become Mrs. Wilson R. Wood on January 27, 1942. She stayed two weeks and was sent home due to squadron transfer for secret mission ) Transfer was to Lexington Field in Columbia, SC.
314th sqdn of 21st BG at Key Field in Meridian, MS. Converted from B 25s to B 26s.
Commander 454th sqdn of newly formed 323rd BG at McDill Field in Tampa, FL
Myrtle Beach, SC Bombing and Gunnery Range
Hunter Field in Savannah, GA
To western European war theater from April 1943 to February 1945. December 1943 323rd BG Commander. Pinned on Colonel January 20, 1944
Base Commander at SE Flying Training Command at Smyrna, TN 1945-46
TAC at Langley Field, VA 1946-48
Language School 6 months at Monterey, CA 1948
Air Liason Officer in Maracay, Venezuela 1949-51
8th AF HQ Carswell AFB, TX
509th Bomb Wing Commander Walker AFB in Roswell, NM 1951-55
8th AF IG Westover AFB in Springfield, MA 1955-56
Commander 98th BW Lincoln AFB in Lincoln, NE 1956-58
Imperial Defense College in London, England 1959
Vice Commander at High Wycombe RAF in Buckinghamshire, England 1960-61
Base Commander at Bolling AFB, Washington DC 1961 to 1963
Base Commander at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL 1963-1967
Colonel Wood completed 28 years of service to his country and transitioned to civilian life in June 1967. He later became Executive Director of Health Services in Montgomery, AL for a decade.
He served his community well in leadership and participated in the Retired Officers Association and the Lions, Rotary, and Kiwanis Clubs. He was an avid golfer and played weekly until his untimely death of a heart attack on January 9, 1981.(62 years old) Colonel Wood was a command pilot with many military decorations including : Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, French Croix de Guerre, Belgium Croix de Guerre, and Presidential Unit Citation.
Units served with
The 323rd Bombardment Group operated with B-26 Marauders, American medium bombers. They were the first Eighth Air Force Group to fly a medium level bombing mission with this aircraft on 16 July 1943. After flying a total of 33 missions with the Eighth,...
Selected Bibliography of Publications:
Military site : airfield
The first airfield site was near East Boldre, used before the First World War. A Royal Flying Corps and RAF station during the First World War, it was sold and dismantled from 1920-1924, though the land was used as a private airfield from 1933 to 1938....
Military site : airfield
Earls Colne was built in 1941 as an airfield for No.3 Group, RAF Bomber Command, although never used as such. Assigned to the US Eighth Air Force (as Station 358) in 1942, its 36 hardstands were increased to 50, bringing the airfield up to Air Ministry...
Military site : non-airfield
Marks Hall estate was requisitioned in 1941 for the construction of Earls Colne airfield (USAAF Station 358).