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  • Colonel William F. Middledorf
  • Colonel William F. Middledorf

    Foil: 40 Panel: 2 Column: 1 Line: 24

    Wall of Honor Level:
    Air and Space Leader

    Honored by:
    Colonel David and Barbara Eberly

    Colonel William F. (Bill) Middledorf joined the Army Aviation Cadet Corp in June 1942, and he served in the U.S. Air Force until his retirement in 1970. His career included flying assignments in the European theater during World War II and later in Strategic Air Command with a final staff assignment at Headquarters, U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon.
    Born November 28, 1921, in Lafayette, Indiana, Bill moved to Brazil, Indiana and graduated from Brazil High School; he later received a bachelor's degree in military science from the University of Maryland.
    Bill completed preflight training at Kelly Field, San Antonio, TX and was commissioned February 16, 1943, as a 2nd Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corp upon completion of advanced flight training at Waco TX.
    During World War II, Bill flew B-17 combat missions from England into the European Theater. On August 15, 1943, his B-17 formation was attacked by Luftwaffe fighters and he and his crew were forced to bail out at 25,000 feet over France. Through an elaborate ruse, the French resistance saved him from capture and facilitated his return to allied forces through Spain. His wartime account is featured in “Escape and Evasion: 17 True Stories of Downed Pilots Who Made it Back.”
    Among his post-World War II assignments, Bill served as an Air Defense Operations Officer with NATO in Izmir, Turkey. Later, after Air Command and Staff College, he qualified as a B-52 pilot and was Commander, 744th Bomb Squadron in the Strategic Air Command at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. He retired in 1970 from the Pentagon as a deputy division chief in the directorate of plans and spent the next 15 years as a Navy aircraft design specialist for the contractor Information Spectrum.
    Colonel Middledorf’s awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Combat Medal, and the WWII Victory medal.
    He was married to Catherine Payne Middledorf and they have three children: Virginia, James, and Robert.

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    Foil: 40

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