William K Hinckley, JrAirman
VF-11, CVW-17, USS FORRESTAL
United States Navy
02 October 1945 - 29 July 1967
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The database page for William K Hinckley, Jr
To my old friend Billy
In our early days you were always there for me when I came to visit my grandmother. We would play cowboys and Indians or war on the hill behind your house and hers. When your mom become angry with me you would have to stay in the house, until my next visit. We drifted apart as the years went by only seeing one another occasionally . I enlisted in the Air Force and you the Navy and we were never to see each other again.
Billy, you are gone but NOT FORGOTTEN and sorely missed,
Your old friend,
On 29 July 1967, as USS FORRESTAL was preparing to launch an Alpha Strike, a 5" Zuni air-to-ground rocket accidentally fired from a F-4 Phantom parked on the starboard side of the ship and pointed inboard. The rocket impacted an armed A-4 Skyhawk (piloted by then-LCDR, now Senator, John McCain) parked on the port side. The rocket's impact led to a massive fire complicated by no less than a dozen 1000- and 500-pound bomb detonations.
135 of her crewmen died in the fire. 47 men of Fighter Squadron 11 were among them, some on the flight deck and some in a berthing compartment immediately below the area engulfed by the fire. Airman Billy Hinckley was one of them.
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14 Jun 2003
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 06/14/2003