Col. Wm. L. Ross III  Biography and Career Chronology

PHOTOS (unless noted otherwise) are from W.L. ROSS III Photo Album – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Site Edited and Maintained by his son-in-law  Doug Cook  Jan. 2007

Contacts from 97th BG and 414th Squadron and others Welcome!



7/13/18                    Born South Bend, IN  to William L. Ross II  and  Mary Lyons Ross


1928                    At age 10, Bill and his father delivered a 1928 Franklin car to Charles Lindbergh as a gift from the President of the H.H. Franklin Co.  It now appears in the Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI.  Lindbergh was Col. Ross’ boyhood hero and inspired his flying career.   Later, stationed in Fairbanks, AK (ca. 1950)  Col. Ross’ C.O. told him that he and a guest would be coming over to dinner.  The guest turned out to be Lindbergh himself.  Col. Ross’ wife, Lenore, recounted doing dishes with Lindbergh after dinner!







 File photo             


Bill Ross (right) and pilot buddy Dick Pickens in front of

Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis     Smithsonian July, 2005



6/38- 8/41           Advertising copywriter (and model!)  Famous-Barr Dept. Store   St. Louis, MO


1942                    Volunteered for service in the Army Air Corps and had to gain weight on milkshakes to get in!


4/27/42                Primary Flight Training               Tulare, CA


6/27/42                Basic Flight Training                   Taft, CA              BT-13;  AT-6        215 hours


8/27/42                Advanced Flight Training           Luke Field, CA  Pilot rated 4-Engine   B-17  200 hours


9-12/15/42          Combat Tactical Training           Geiger Field, Wa; Almagordo, NM; Topeka, KS; Salina, KS






1/16/43- 8/3/43  Combat N. Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy   B-17 Bomber Pilot  97th Bomb Group 414th Squadron:  Plane  “Smokey Stover”

                             Sent back “Stateside” after 50 missions in War Weary Pilot Rotation Program.


7/20/43                    Promotion to 1st Lt.  Army Air Corps while in Algeria








9/1/43- 3/22/44   Palm Beach and Long Beach, CA   Pilot ferrying planes:  P-38, P-40, B-17, A-20 

                             Pilot Qualified:  BT-13, C-47, P-47, P-39, P-40, P-51, B-24, B-25, B-26, B-61, A-20, A-26   file photos              


























8/28/43                                Married  Lenore Gibson Boyd     Bill & Lenore 1998


9/12/44                                Promoted to Captain Army Air Corps


10/44                             Applied Tactics training


3/23/44- 8/46                Flight Control, Tactical, Technical Inspector


4/19/47                                Promoted to Major US Air Force then to civilian briefly.


4/47-6/48                      Fairbanks, AK  Insurance agency manager; Sales and service of Beech Aircraft



1/7/49- 9/15/52            Back in service:  Detachment B  10th Air Rescue            Fairbanks, AK   C-54 Transport; Maintenance Officer


                                       Daughters    Mary Ellen and Barbara Jean Ross are born in Fairbanks


7/16/52-1/2/54             Supply and Maintenance Inspector, I.G. HQ Air Rescue Service   Washington, DC;   Ellington AFB, Houston, TX


12/10/52                             TOP SECRET Security Clearance


2/1/54- 2/24/56            Group Maintenance Officer,  HQ 9th Air Rescue Group, Brushy Park, England


5/55                               3000 flying hours (sr. Pilot since 8/15/50)


7/1/55                            Promoted to Lt. Col. US Air Force


6/16/56                         Transport Pilot;  Supply Staff Officer


9/9/57                            Command Pilot


9/21/57-6/30/58           Maxwell AFB  AL        Daughter    Elizabeth Ann Ross was born at Maxwell  4/5/58  (3 daughters!)


Back  L-R:   Wm. L. Ross II,  Mary Lyons Ross, Lt. Col. Wm. L. Ross III,   Ernest Boyd,  Cora Gibson Boyd (Lenore’s parents)

Front: Barbara Jean Ross,  Lenore Gibson Ross, Elizabeth Ann Ross,  Mary Ellen Ross



7/1/58-11/8/61             Travis AFB  CA          Transport Pilot 84th Air Transport Service,  Commander OMS


4/30/63                                MATS  Military Air Transport Service    5000 accident free flying hours



C-133 Cargomaster-  custom designed for Atlas ICBM  (top  photo)    Lt. Col. Wm. L. Ross III  (bottom left)










1963                              BS   University of Omaha, NB    Air War College


1964                              MA   George Washington University, International Affairs,  Wash., DC  

                                      Thesis-  Kurdistan:  Russia’s Route to the Persian Gulf


8/3/64                            HQ  US Air Force Pentagon,  Washington, DC    Maintenance Staff Officer 

Aircraft and Missile Div.  Strategic Air Command


11/1/65                         Promoted to Col. US Air Force


7/31/68                         Retired from Air Force service



After retirement from the USAF,   Bill and Lenore Ross moved to Lighthouse Point, FL.  Bill started a second career in commercial real estate in the fast growing city of Ft. Lauderdale.   Bill and Lenore continued their world travels and reciprocated visits with close friends in England.  They traveled to England, Spain, France, Italy, Egypt, safari in Kenya, Thailand, China, Japan, and Russia. They lived in Satellite Beach, FL for about 10 years and finally moved to Westminster Village in Spanish Fort, AL to be near family. Bill and Lenore celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1993 with friends and family at a reunion  in Fairbanks, AK.  Bill and Lenore’s grandchildren were daughters born to Elizabeth Ross and Douglas John Cook:   Haley Gibson Cook  10/8/85  and Madeline Alia Cook  8/5/99.    Lenore passed away  on 12/24/99 followed by Bill on 9/7/05.  They lie side by side in a family plot in Mobile, AL.  Besides daughters and grandchildren below, he is survived by his sister Jean Ross Schneider and brother Bowman Ross.



Bill Ross with Madeline, Haley, Elizabeth, and Doug Cook


Jeannie Ross and Russell Newton


Mary Ellen Ross,  Bill, and Elizabeth Ross Cook