Hawkins, William M., Sgt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 611-Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1940 - 1943
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Hawkins, William M., Sgt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
353rd BOmb Squadron
St. Donat, Algeria

Casualty Date
Apr 18, 1943
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
World War II
Location of Interment
North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial - Carthage, Tunisia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Walls of the Missing

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  1943, World War II Fallen

 Ribbon Bar

Aerial Gunner Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)301st Bombardment Group, Heavy  353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1940-1941, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Egypt-Libya Campaign (1942-43)
  1943-1943 Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)/Operation Strangle
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1943-1943, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
William M. Hawkins was born in Louisiana on July 28, 1918. His parents were Charles and Susie B. Hawkins. The US Census 1920 shows the family in Catahoula while the US Census 1940 is the same, except Susie is listed as "widowed." According to records, Charles died in 1928.

Hawkins enlisted on July 3, 1940 as a private in the Army Air Forces. His enlistment papers state he had completed 4 years of high school, and was a semiskilled worker in the bakery products occupation.

He was trained as an aerial gunner, and then assigned to a combat crew on a B-17. It is not known when he joined the Godwin crew, but records indicate he flew at least 10 missions. On April 18, 1943, this crew was assigned to bomb the railway yard in Palermo, Sicily. Before they reached the target, the aircraft was shot down by German fighters, and crashed into the sea.

No remains were recovered, and Sgt Hawkins is memorialized on the Walls of the Missing in the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Carthage, Tunisia. There is also a memory stone for him located in the Alexandria Cemetery in Manifest, Louisiana. This stone has an incorrect service number and date of death on it. (Service number 14002113, not 115. Stone states death occurred on April 4, 1943.)

US Census 1920
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records


Sgt William M. Hawkins was acting as tail gunner on B-17F #41024371, named "Devils from Hell," assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 16508 was issued. Mission loading lists state the crew was:

1 Lt Bobby M. Godwin  p
1 Lt John W. Houck  c-p
2 Lt John H. Person  nav
1 Lt Virgil E. Hope  bomb
Sgt  Robert B. Imler  eng/tt gun
Sgt  Robert S. Littrel  r/o
Sgt  Arthur L. Nilges  btg
Sgt  Frank Spatafore  wg
Sgt  William M. Hawkins  tail gunner

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

NOTE: On October 5, 2015, the wreckage of the aircraft was found in 75 feet of water by a dive team, located about 4 miles off Palermo, Sicily. Nothing will be recovered as it has been designated a "war grave."

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