William Humphrey NelsonColonel
HQ SQDN, 355TH TAC FTR WING, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
24 September 1917 - 20 July 1966
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The database page for William Humphrey Nelson
Colonel Nelson's daughter Judy was a friend of mine and one of my best friends. The Nelsons lived directly across the street in base housing at McConnell AFB, Kansas (Colonel Nelson also lived next door to LtCol Felix "Doc" Blanchard, the Heisman Trophy winner from West Point.) I always liked and admired the colonel. He was a really sharp guy. I was also an Air Force brat so I'd met a lot of colonels upon which to base that opinion.
He had a full chest of fruit salad and had served in World War II as had my dad. He was one of the first (if not the first) father of a friend to die in Vietnam.
His brother was a pacifist and even sailed to North Vietnam with so called "humanitarian aid." Even after Colonel Nelson had been killed none of the family seemed as angry about it as I was.
He was an obviously an outstanding officer, and with Judy as the example, an outstanding father. I often think of him when I think of my father. Although I only knew him as a friend's father, I always felt the loss. Like all Air Force children I realized it could have been my dad. Rest in Peace, Colonel.
From a friend of his daughter Judy,
A Note from The Virtual WallOn 20 July 1966 Colonel William H. Nelson in F-105D tail number 61-0116 was conducting a strafing run on trucks along Highway 12 about 10 kilometers south of Hoa Binh when he failed to pull out of the run and crashed. There was no sign of ejection and the crash itself was unsurvivable. On 30 Sep 1977 the Vietnamese returned Col Nelson's remains, with positive identification announced by the US government on 25 Oct 1977.
A JTF-FA summary dated 04 June 1997 adds two other points:
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
a friend of his daughter Judy,
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 23 Jun 2008
Last updated 11/13/2010