Biography of William Byer

S/Sgt, 53rd Weather Recon Sqdn, U.S.A.A.F.

     I entered the Army in February of 1943. My training started with Infantry basic training at Ft Leonard Wod, Mo. I left the Infantry Company I was assigned to in March of 1943 for a transfer to the Army Air Force. Had I not done so I would have been in the battle of the Bulge.

       My Air Force training began in Air Force Cadet training at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. When the Air crew program was frozen I was transferred to Radio School and then weather recon training at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma City.

       I then served in 53rd Weather Recon Squadron, my rank being Staff Sargeant.  Our missions included Azores-synoptic weather flights to record weather conditions for air and surface traffic in the Atlantic.  These were 14 hour flights in B-25s to North Africa and back and other Atlantic flights. Now that hurricane season is here I am reminded that our squadron also was the first to "fly" the storms, thru the eye.

      I was the radio operator. We would chart the weather, wind velocity, cloud formations, elevation where icing would develope on aircraft, etc. Our weather man who rode in the nose (bombadier location) would relay to me all the weather info and I in turn would radio it back to base by morse code. The Germans were very good at transmitting and receiving as if they were one of us. However, we learned each other's "hand" and could tell if it was friend or foe. Scary times ? Yeah, when weather was real bad for hours you could not see the wing tips and sometimes would experience vertigo, not knowing whether you were right side up or not. Lose an engine! B-25' had two and you could fly on one. Lost an engine one day and faced the possibility of ditching,however the weather was good, the sea calm and rescue planes came out to meet us in case we had to ditch. As I may have said had I not qualified for Cadet training I would have been in the Battle the Bulge ,75th Division, and likely would not have survived.

      I was discharged in  March 1946 from Ft Attebury, Indiana. I returned home to Lapel, Indiana and re-entered College at LLB Indiana University graduating in 1950 with the G I Bill and self help. I now practice Law in Indiana. On the legal side you can find me in 37ALR3rd 1131. When I was in Law Scool I never dreamed I would appear in such a publication. It became the lead case in the country on Public Employee strikes.I had left the school attorney position to become City Attorney but the School Board called me back to deal with Teachers Strike. Case went from trial court to Indiana Supreme Court, then to U.S. Supreme Court on certiorari. Won at all levels. Quite an experience I did almost nothing else for 76 weeks.

     I have a reunion of sorts October 17, 1998 of my infantry Company.

-----  Bill Byer

        WByer80278@aol.com  Curator's Note:  This email has become inactive. Mr. Byer emailed me and informed me that he had been diagnosed with a serious  terminal illness.  I fear he may have passed away.

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