WRIGHT, BILLY N. "BILL", Captain, Service # 0-725565, U.S. Army Air Frce
Billy N. Wright was born in 1920 in Commerce, Hunt County, Texas, to James M. Wright (1883-1960) and Emma Clyde (Whitfield) Wright (1890-1956). Bill Wright enlisted 2 November 1941 in Dallas, Texas, as an aviation cadet. After raining, he was sent overseas to the 9th Bombardment Squadron, 7th Bombardment Group, Heavy, 10th Air Force. Sgt Frank Roriguez (NMI) (prior page herein) was a member of his crew. As the pilot, Captain Westberg departed APO 686 (India) flying B24J, # 42-73055, to bomb the Insein enemy shops, on 1 December 1943. The bomber was last seen at 1225 hours at 16 degrees 45 minutes North, 95 degrees 22 minutes East, in Burma. His crew was: pilot Capt. Wright, co-pilot 1stLt Merrill R. Parker, 0-720160, navigator 1stLt Roy A. Wentz Jr., 0-659938, bombardier 1stLt Raymond Maloney, 0-726056, engineer SSgt Clifford H. Beckman, 19075514, radio operator SSgt Francis C. Winderl, 19019299, asst. engineer SSgt Frank (NMI) Rodriguez, 6578491, asst. radio operator SSgt Edward J. Girman, 35258994, armorer gunner SSgt Alvin L. Hastings, 35357272, and armorer gunner SSgt Joseph B. Wells, 6934111. All enlisted also served as gunners on the .50 caliber Browning machine gun.
Capt. Wright was caprured and imprisoned in the Rangoon POW Cantonment. He died there 31 March 1944 and was buried in the cantonment cemetery. His remains were recovered by the Graves Registration team. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with several Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart. He was survived by his parents and siblings: Theo Whitfield Wright (1911-1973), Margaret (Wright) Holmes (1913-1979), James M. Wright (1916-1973), Claude Earnest Wright (1919-1980), and Thomas Russell Wright (1925-1978). An enlistment record for James M. Wright Jr., Hunt Co., TX, reflects a brother of Bill’s also enlisted in the U.S. Army at Camp Wolters, TX, on 5 March, 1942. His service # 38097795. An enlistment record was found for Claude E Wright, born 1919, Service # 18044007, who enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force on 19 November,1941.