Oct 31, 2015
Written by Evergreen Museum Curator
Lt. Col. Bill Harris is being inducted into the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 during the Dream to Fly Gala at the Evergreen Aviation Museum. Click here for more information about the event
Lt. Col. Bill Harris
Harris originally enlisted in the Navy in 1936 and as radioman, performed duties with the scout planes on the USS Houston. He left the Navy but joined the Army Air Force in 1942 and was sent to fighter training on the P-38 Lightning. Harris was assigned to the 339th Fighter Squadron and thrown into the battle for Guadalcanal. Over the next three years, he would rise to the rank of Lt. Col. and be credited with 16 kills; becoming the second highest ranking ace in the 13th Air Force and 13th overall in the list of USAAF aces in the Pacific. He finished the war as commander of the 18th Fighter Group in the Philippines. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star, and the Air Medal with 23 Oak Leaf Clusters. After the war he continued to fly and inspired three of his children to follow careers in aviation. He moved to Oregon in the 1976 and passed away in 2014. The Klamath Falls Chapter of the Air Force Association has been named the Bill Harris Chapter in his honor.