William Harrell Nellis

Picture of William Nellis WILLIAM HARRELL NELLIS, for whom Nellis Air Force Base was named on 1 May 1950, was born in Santa Rita, N.M. in 1916. The family moved to Clark County, Nevada when Nellis was a child.

Nellis enlisted in the Enlisted Reserve Corps of the U.S. Army 9 December 1942 and was called to active duty 2 March 1943. He was an aviation student in 1944 when he was honorably discharged to accept an appointment as a flight officer on 7 January 1944.

He left for overseas service 21 May 1944 and was appointed second lieutenant 9 August 1944 and was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant 22 November 1944. He participated in 69 aerial combat missions as a fighter pilot flying a P-47 "Thunderbolt" and was awarded the Air Medal with one silver and one bronze Oak Leaf cluster; the American Campaign medal; the European - African - Middle Eastern Campaign medal with four Bronze Stars for participation in the Ardennes-Alsace, Normandy, Northern France and Rhineland campaigns; the Distinguished Unit Emblem with one Oak Leaf cluster; World War II Victory medal; badge "Pilot" and the Purple Heart (posthumously).

He was reported missing in action over Luxembourg 27 December 1944 and later information indicated he was killed in action that same day. He was serving as a member of the 513th Fighter Squadron, 406th Fighter Group, at the time of his death.

A bronze dedicatory plaque given by the veterans' groups and school children of Las Vegas to Nellis Air Force Base reads: "WITH COURAGE AND DARING HE BROUGHT THE FIGHT TO THE ENEMY DEFENDING HIS COUNTRY WITHOUT REGARD FOR HIS PERSONAL SAFETY OR WELFARE"

List of all P47 Pilots:
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Pilot Name Biography Summary
John Abbotts P-47 transition followed at Pocatello, Idaho and Greenville, Texas after which he was assigned to the 56th Fighter Group in England. When the news of his arrival reached Berlin, Hitler retired to his bunker with his cyanide capsule and revolver. Eva found the news equally depressing.
Asa A. Adair He returned to the States in August of 1944 after participating in the invasion "D" Day. He flew P-63's, P-51's, F-80's, T-33's, F-84's, T-38's, P-47's in numerous assignments during the following twenty years in in, Japan, U.S.A. and Europe before retiring after twenty-six years of Active Duty.
Edward B. Addison The 507th Fighter Group, equipped with P-47N's, won the Presidential Unit Citation for destroying 32 Japanese aircraft in the air on one mission to Seoul, Korea. The average flying time for raids to Korea and Japan would be 7 to 9 hours flying time. In a total of 31 months, the 507th not only provided top cover for B-29's, but also dive-bombed, napalm-bombed and flew low-level on strafing missions.
Levon B. Agha-Zarian It is rumored that he, took his primary training on a flying rug. He flew Spits, briefly, in England, but as the, war moved to the East, he was sent to India as a Sgt. Pilot and first saw action from Ceylon, flying the Curtiss P.36, the Brewster Buffalo, and the Hurricane. At this point he might have opted for the rug! This was at the time of the fall of Singapore and the sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse.
George N. Ahles Posted to A-20 light bomber squadron Barksdale Field, Louisiana. . Group moved to Hunter Air Base Savannah, Georgia. Qualified for Pilot training November 1940. Entered Aviation Cadets January 1942. Presented wings November 1942 class of 42-J. Married Mary Louise while in Advanced Pilot Training at Craig AFB, Selma, Alabama, September 1942.
Roy J. Aldritt Shortly after the group moved to France he ran into some unseen flak and was forced to make a nylon descent behind the lines; some evasion and a lot of luck had him back with his unit in 24 hours.
Eugene J. Amaral After graduation from Stonington High School he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in December 1942 and was called to active duty in March, 1943. He received his wings and commission at Spence Field, Georgia as a member of the Class of 43-C.
Talmadge L. Ambrose Flew 84 missions thru VE Day, was downed by 22mm ground fire over Siefried Line. He destroyed 11 enemy aircraft, 9 known confirmed in air and on ground, including 4 FW 190-D's in one afternoon over Hanover, Germany, April 8, 1945. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, 17 man, Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Pacific Theatre and European Theatre Meda1s with 5 Battle Stars and Unit Citation Medal.
John C. Anderson After P-47 transition he was assigned to the 406th Fighter Group, 512th Fighter Squadron. (E.T .0.) He flew 56 missions through January, 1945 destroying supply routes, bridges, and railroads; he also flew close support missions with the ground forces, with attacks on tanks, artillery and enemy positions.
William Anderson It was not always flak,two ME-109's beat the hell out of me one day. The central controller called me and said "Basher-Red Leader do you have contact Bandits," I replied, "I sure do, I'll bring them over the field in 3 minutes, they're chasing me home." Got all the usual medals including two Belgium and two French but one I'm most proud of is the Silver Star -it is the greatest.
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