Lt. Colonel Bill Harris

Bill Harris served four years in the Navy before joining the Army Air Forces.  He received his wings and commission as a second lieutenant at Luke Field, Arizona on 30 October 1942 and assigned to the 339th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group. 

Based in New Caledonia, the group sent detachments to Guadalcanal to escort bombers and attack Japanese bases on New Georgia, Bougainville and the Russell Islands.  Flying a P-38G, Harris scored his first victory on 7 June 1943 by destroying two Zeros over the Russells.  On the 16th Harris shot down two Zeros over Guadalcanal during a noontime attack by the Japanese.  On 4 October he claimed a Zero on a B-24 escort to Kahili to become an ace.  After downing a Zero three days later, on the 10th he was credited with two Zeros on a morning mission to Kahili and that afternoon downed one Zeke confirmed and shared a probable. 

Promoted to captain, in 27 October Harris became a double ace when he destroyed a Japanese dive-bomber over Treasury Island.  Flying out of the Treasury Islands on 9 February 1944, Harris was credited with three Zeros on a sweep over the Admiralties, followed by another pair of Zekes over Vanakanau Airstrip on the 15th. 

Promoted to lieutenant colonel, Harris was sent to the Philippines to command the 18th Fighter Group in the spring of 1945.  On 22 June he downed an Oscar over Mandai Airdrome to become the top P-38 ace in the Thirteenth Air Force.  Tally Record:  16 confirmed

Back to History