William Erwin
William P. Erwin
William P. Erwin
  • Country: United States
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Service: United States Air Service
  • Units: 1st Observation
  • Victories: 8
  • Place of Birth: Amarillo, Texas
  • Date Of Death: On or about October18, 1927
  • Place of Death: Pacific Ocean

Erwin was assigned to the 1st Observation Squadron on July 19, 1918. A D.H.4 pilot, he and his observers were credited with eight victories. A participant in the Dole Air Race of 1927, he was last seen departing Oakland, California enroute to Hawaii. He was presumed lost at sea.

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)

"For extraordinary heroism in action in the Chateau Thierry and St. Mihiel salients, France. Lt. Erwin, with Lt. Byrne V. Baucom, Observer, by a long period of faithful and heroic operations, set an inspiring example of courage and devotion to duty to his entire squadron. Throughout the Chateau Thierry actions in June and July of 1918, he flew under the worst weather conditions and successfully carried out his missions in the face of heavy odds. In the St. Mihiel sector, September 12 to 15, 1918, he repeated his previous courageous work. He flew as low as 50 feet from the ground behind the enemy's lines, harassing German troops with machine gun fire and subjected himself to attack from the ground batteries, machine guns and rifles. He twice drove off enemy planes which were attempting to destroy an American observation balloon.

On September 12-13 he flew at extremely low altitudes and carried out infantry contact patrols successfully. Again on September 12, he attacked a German battery, forced the crew to abandon it, shot off his horse a German officer who was trying to escape, drove the cannoneers to their dugouts and kept them there until the infantry could come up and capture them." DSC citation