Entry Date: 57/65

Exit Date: 61/67


Squad: 21

Status: K

AM1, 1952 (Bill was 22 yrs. of age here)

Commissioning, 1955

Carrier Qualified, 1956

Commander, 1969

“Bill Locke was born and raised in Holyoke, MA. He attended the public schools there and joined the Navy following graduation from Holyoke High in 1948. Following boot camp at Great Lakes, IL, and after attending the Airman Primary and Aviation Structural Mechanic schools at NAS Memphis, TN,

Bill reported to VF-72 at NAS Quonset Point, RI as an AMAA. During his five years in the squadron, Bill made several deployments including an eight month tour to WestPac during the Korean War. In 1954, as an AM1, Bill transferred to FASRON 2, also at Quonset Point.

In 1955 Bill was selected to attend OCS under the Holloway Plan, the Navy’s first “”Seaman to Admiral”” program. Following completion of the sixteen week course, and commissioning as an ensign, USN, Bill reported to NAS Pensacola, FL for flight training. In 1957 he received his wings at NAS Hutchinson, KS and reported to his first tour of duty in VP-21 at NAS Brunswick, ME. After rotating through several crews as a navigator, and serving as copilot on CAC 10 under Al Petrich, on CAC 7 under C.E. “”Bill”” Mackey, and on CAC 1 under Herb Ainsworth, he was designated as PPC of CAC 8, the position he held until he was transferred to VT-29 at NAS Corpus Christi, TX in 1961. During his tour in VP-21, Bill made deployments to Iceland, Malta, Sicily, and Newfoundland.

Bill spent three years in VT-29 as an in-flight navigation instructor flying C-47, C-117, and T-29 navigation trainers before reporting back to VP-21 for a second tour in 1965. He was again assigned as PPC of CAC 8 (again, the best crew in the squadron) and completed another deployment to Iceland. During this deployment, Bill received a direct order from the XO, Mike Johnson, not to make any more low passes around Keflavik as they were disturbing the Air Force. With two tours and six years in VP-21, Bill believes that he’s flown with more Blackjacks than has anyone else. Bill has been the chairman of the board of the VPB-111/VP-21 Veterans Association since 1999.

In 1967 Bill reported to NSA Danang, Vietnam where he spent the next year flying the unit’s only aircraft – first a C-47 and then a C-117. During the one year in-country tour, Bill flew over 900 hours and made over 500 in-country landings.
Following subsequent tours at NAS Brunswick, COMICEDEFOR, Iceland, and CINCLANTFLT, Norfolk, Bill reported to his final tour at NAS Brunswick. He retired as a commander in 1982 after 34 years of active duty. Following retirement, Bill went to work for Bath Iron Works as a supervisor in the Logistics department. As of 3/25/2003, he’s still there.

Bill was married for 44 years to the former Joan Drapeau. Joan passed away in 2000. They had five lovely daughters and four wonderful grandchildren. On 3 April 2003, Bill married Donna Lawson, a resident of Bailey Island, ME. It’s not often that anyone gets this lucky twice in a lifetime.”