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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
William G. Cameron, Colonel, USAF (Retired)
August 30, 1921 ~ April 14, 2020
Colonel William George Cameron Sr. passed peacefully from this world in the early morning hours of April 14, 2020. He was the second son of 11 children born to James and Eleanor Cameron. He was born 98 years ago in Medford, Massachusetts and was one of America’s true American hero’s.
An Air Force Veteran with 32 years of service, Colonel Cameron miraculously survived a fall from a tree as a child. Attempting to stop his descent he grabbed an electrical wire. The soles of his tennis shoes melted but as he was blessed with the legendary “Cameron luck” his impact with the ground restarted his heart but left his hand damaged.
In 1943 Cameron joined the US Army Air Corp with the goal of becoming a WWII pilot. He was greatly disappointed when the injury done to his hand prevented this. His dreams of becoming a pilot dashed, he became a belly gunner on a B-17. He was sent to England, where on March 6, 1944, he was assigned to take the place of a sick belly gunner on another crew. His plane was shot down over Berlin. The “Cameron luck” prevailed and he was able to escape safely from the dangerous belly gunner position and parachute to the ground. He was hit in the leg by flying shrapnel on his descent. He was captured later that evening and spent the next 15 months in a Stalag 4, located in Prussia, where he met future Major League umpire Augie Donatelli. He survived his interment, “Cameron luck” but was forced to march 86 days to Hamburg during a bitter German winter.
After the war, Sergeant Cameron left the army and returned to work in Massachusetts. One evening, he sat next to a doctor at a bar who listened to his story and announced that he could correct the damage to his hand. “Cameron luck!” With his hand repaired, he returned to the Army Air Corp which soon became the United States Air force. He returned to flight school and was selected to fly the newly developed and treacherous helicopters. In 1968, Lt. Cameron became the Commander of the Jolly Green Giants stationed in Thailand and flying rescue missions into the dense forests of Vietnam. Christmas Day 1968 two Jolly Green Giants flew a daring mission to attempt the rescue of a shot down pilot. He remained silent on this mission for years despite receiving a silver star for bravery under heavy enemy fire. His Jolly was hit in multiple areas including under his seat. Despite his heroic efforts he lost PJ, the Green Beret he was lowering to attempt rescue, and the pilot. He came back to the US in 1969 and in 1972 he was in charge of bringing Vietnam prisoners of War home. He retired to Orlando FL. in 1975 where he made many close friendships and enjoyed many games of golf.
Colonel Cameron would tell you that “Cameron luck “began when he married his wife Barbara Knowles (deceased) whom he referred to as his bride until the day he passed. Together they had 4 children, William George Cameron Jr, Elizabeth Cameron, Eleanor Cameron (Deceased), and Michael James Cameron. They welcomed into their family spouses Robin (William), John (Liz) and Elisabete (Michael). He is also survived by grandchildren: Shae and Seth Cameron, Amanda Fox, and spouse Ahern Fox, and Rebecca Cameron; great grandchildren Meleah and Teagan Fox, and Brody Cameron. A new set wings upon his chest, Colonel William George Cameron soars once again. We love you always and thank you for all that you have given to us and the world!
Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, private family graveside services will be held at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL. A public memorial service will be held at a later date in the near future.
Arrangements entrusted to CAREY HAND COLONIAL FUNERAL HOME, 2811 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, FL 32806 407-898-2561 www.careyhandcolonialfh.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Colonel William G. Cameron, please visit our floral store.https://www.careyhandcolonialfh.com/obituary/ColonelWilliam-Cameron
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