Bill Redmon oral history interview
Naval aviator Bill Redmon is interviewed about his 27-year career with the United States Navy. He discusses his training and experiences as a pilot, landing signal officer, and commander and shares details about his combat tours during the Korean War and Vietnam War. He also discusses other notable assignments from his service and his experiences with various aircraft, including the Vought F4U Corsair, the Douglas A3D (A-3) Skywarrior, and the McDonnell F3H (F-3) Demon. The interview concludes with a brief overview of Redmon’s post-military activities and a discussion about some of his military memorabilia.
Table Of Contents
Bill Redmon was a pilot for the United States Navy from 1942 to 1969, serving in the Korean War and Vietnam War.
William Lee Squire Redmon was born on March 1, 1924 in Tipton, Missouri to William and Della M. Redmon. In 1931, he and his mother relocated to Wichita, Kansas, where he attended Wichita East High School.
In December 1942, Redmon enlisted in the United States Navy. He entered the V-5 Program and trained in the Naval Aircraft Factory N3N and the Stearman N2S Kaydet. He completed advance training at Corpus Christi, Texas and underwent additional training at Kingsville. After receiving his wings in April 1945, he entered pre-operational training at DeLand, Florida, then earned his carrier qualification aboard the USS Sable (IX-81). He was awaiting deployment to the Pacific Theater when World War II came to an end. He accepted a discharge from active duty but remained in the Navy Reserve.
In 1948, Redmon graduated from Wichita State University (Kansas) with a B.S in Accounting and Economics and then returned to active duty. He completed a refresher course at Pensacola, Florida and transitioned to the Vought F4U Corsair. Afterwards, he joined Fighter Squadron 114 (VF-114) at Naval Air Station North Island in California and deployed for a nine-month tour to Korea. His missions included flying close air support for ground troops and air interdiction against trains, ships, and bridges. Returning to the United States, he entered landing signal officer (LSO) school and trained with Composite Squadron 11 (VC-11). He deployed again to Korea, this time with Carrier Air Group 101 (CAG-101) aboard the USS Kearsarge (CV-33). In addition to serving as LSO, he also flew missions in the Douglas AD Skyraider. When his second combat tour ended in 1954, he had flown over 100 combat missions in Korea.
After a six-month tour to the Mediterranean with CAG-101, Redmon was next assigned to Lakehurst, New Jersey, where he served as public information officer for a radar Reserve squadron and helped to recruit college students to the Navy. His subsequent assignments included serving aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), flying the Grumman F9F-6 Cougar and McDonnell F3H Demon at Naval Air Station Miramar, California, and serving with Heavy Attack Squadron 123 (VAH-123) at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington. From 1965 to 1967, he served as assistant air boss aboard the USS Coral Sea (CV-43) during its cruises to Vietnam. He then returned to NAS Whidbey Island. He retired from the Navy in 1969.
As a civilian, starting in 1970 Redmon worked for 20 years as an insurance agent for State Farm based in Oak Harbor, Washington. He also distributed Bibles on behalf of Gideons International and served as a Little League manager and association president. He also volunteered at The Museum of Flight. Redmon and his wife Billie were married on August 10, 1954. They had three children. Redmon died on November 22, 2022 on Whidbey Island, Washington.
Biographical information derived from interview, additional information provided by interviewee, and records on Ancestry.com.