Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


Bill McCowen | Strategic Air Command - Air Force

4:03   |   Bill McCowen participated in his third war when SAC was levied for pilots to send to Vietnam, and that's not counting the Cold War. Going from mammoth B-52's to the C-123 assault transport, and from high altitude cruising to treetop level and dirt strips, was no problem for him. He loved flying and was ready for any mission.

More From Bill McCowen

Keywords   :     Bill McCowen    Korea    combat mission    Turner AFB    SAC    Strategic Air Command    Vietnam    pilot    C-123    assault    landing strip    B-52    carrier    Tan Son Nhut    VC    altitude    navigator    delta    Green Beret

Videos ( 5 )
  • Bill McCowen  |  WWII  |  Army Air Corps  |  7:07

    He set out with a friend to enlist in the Navy, but Bill McCowen wound up in the Army Air Corps and trained on remote control gunnery for the B-29. He was sent to Italy in the waning months of World War II where he witnessed a dramatic night bombing of Naples.

  • Bill McCowen  |  Korea  |  Strategic Air Command  |  9:16

    Korea got real exciting real quick. It was the practice for the commander to fly with new bomber crews on their first mission. Bill McCowen's B-29 crew almost didn't survive that first mission after the Instructor Pilot nearly killed them twice. The rest of the tour was a little less stressful.

Cold War
  • Bill McCowen  |  Cold War  |  Strategic Air Command  |  4:21

    Bill McCowen entered the jet age when he moved from the B-29 to the B-47, which he handled so well he became an instructor pilot for the aircraft. Shrugging off the trouble he caused when he let a 2nd Lieutenant fly in the front seat, he was among the first to regularly fly at high altitude, where he was startled by his first sight of a contrail.

  • Bill McCowen  |  Cold War  |  Strategic Air Command  |  7:09

    Bill McCowen enjoyed flying the B-52 and it was a good thing because the Chrome Dome flights for SAC during the Cold War lasted 24 hrs. He describes the strategy for attacking Moscow, including the plan for surviving after the strike. He also circled Cuba during the Missile Crisis and his description of this lends some credence to the tales of the Bermuda Triangle.

Other Conflict
Showing : Vietnam Videos
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