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Maxwell pays long overdue tribute to Alabama native, Airman

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexa Culbert
  • LeMay Public Affairs

After 72 years, the late William C. McDonald was recognized for his exemplary services to the Air Force, during an awards ceremony held here at the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy auditorium, Thursday.

McDonald was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for services during the China National Aviation Corporation from 1941 to 1945.

McDonald’s son and daughter were present to accept the medals on his behalf.

Before the presenting of the medals, The Air Force Enlisted Heritage Hall historian, William Chivallete, told McDonald’s life story and the impact his actions had on the Air Force.

According to the records at the National Museum of the Air Force, McDonald served as a chief pilot during the CNAC flights. The CNAC crews navigated hazardous terrain and weather with poor navigation guides and communication. The crews flew over 38, 000 missions and brought 114,500 tons of materials to Allied Forces.

He said McDonald was one of his personal heroes and it was an honor to be able to talk about him.

“First off, we are here to honor a special unsung hero. You know the word ‘hero’ is so overused in my personal opinion. I’ve been a historian for over 34 years and in that time I have rarely seen an individual who was so underappreciated by history as William C. McDonald,” said Chivallete.

To memorialize McDonald’s achievements, a display case located at the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Hall, Gunter Annex.

McDonald’s display is in the “Alabama Room,” a red room in the museum showcasing other fellow Alabama natives who have made great contributions to the Air Force.