William M. Cleary

Cadet Bill Cleary in Missouri, 1943
Cadet Bill Cleary in Missouri, 1943
Recent Address: 2770 Brunswick Road, Youngstown, OH 44511-2116
E-mail Address:
Family Info: Parents: Timothy J. and Leona G.; Wife: Audrey; Children: Kathleen, Colleen, Shawn, Laura
Hometown: Youngstown, OH
Date Entered Service: October 21, 1943
Service Number: 35236427
Bomb Group: 444th
Squadron: 678th
Location of Unit: Dudkundi, India (December, 1944)
Missions Flown:
Hump Missions:
Awards: Air Offensive Japan, China Campaign, Central Burma Campaign, India-Burma Campaign, American Theater Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with 4 Bronze Stars, Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal
Service Schools:
MOS: MOS 555-Airplane Sheet Metal Worker
Rank Upon Discharge: PFC
Crew Type: Ground crew
Airplane Serial No.& Name:
Where You a POW?:
POW Location:
Where You a Interned?:
Internment Location:
Date Transferred from the 58th:
Date Discharged: January 20, 1946
Post WWII Service:
Post WWII Civilian Occupation(s): Utility Worker, Credit Manager, Gas Company.
Bill was also a member of the Crazy 8's, he volunteered for Meals on Wheels and was a Junior Achievement sponsor and mentor. He was an avid wood carver and he taught carving at the Ford Nature Center in Mill Creek Park. He also enjoyed painting, bicycling, working in the garden and was a self-taught carpenter.
Thoughts About the 58th: In 1943, prior to my 18th birthday, I enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp in the Cadet Program. Had my Basic Training at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, MO. The war was winding down and some programs were eliminated. I was classified as a sheet metal repairman, MOS #555, then the 509th in Harvard, NE. There was an overseas cadre being formed and one sheet metal man was needed and I volunteered. I was given Special Orders, that were not to be opened before I flew out of LaGuardia Airport on September 16, 1944. The pilot flew over the Statue of Liberty and said, “Take a good look boys, it may be a long time before you see her again.”
About a half hour into the flight, we were allowed to open our orders. It was at that time, I found out I was going to India to be with the 58th Bomb Wing, 444th Bomb Group stationed at Dudkundi. Our planes were flying over the hump to China and the Pacific. In 1945 my bomb group was transferred to the Pacific and Okinawa. In January 1946, I was sent to Camp Attlebury, Indiana, for discharge.
I am member of the CBIVA, Mahoning County Basha. I have attended three National Reunions of the 58th Bomb Wing. I am very proud to have served in the Army Air Corp and the 58th Bomb Wing.
Comments: From Brian J. Miller:
Bill Cleary, my Father-in-law passed away on September 20th, 2012. He was a kind, loving man who with that Irish charm had people gravitate to him when in his presence. His warm open demeanor, caring attitude and gentle disposition endeared him to all that were fortunate enough to meet him. He was an accomplished wood carver and painter and although his career as a credit manager of a utility company was far from this skill, he was a self-taught carpenter who made furniture and single-handedly designed and built additions to his home.
During World War II he volunteered before his 18th birthday and served with the 20th Army Air Corp, 58th Bomber Wing, 444th Bomb Group, 678th Squadron. Bill first served in India, then on Tinian Island and Okinawa in the China Burma India Campaign in the Pacific Theatre of Operations. He was assigned to a ground crew and his specialty was repairing the sheet metal skin of B-29 Bombers.
One of my many fond and special memories with him was several years back when my son, Jonathan, and myself had the honor to spend a weekend with him at his 58th Bomber Wing Reunion. He will be missed terribly but as with all who met him, the spirit and essence of Bill Cleary will live in us forever.
Mr. Cleary is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Youngstown, OH.
Bill Cleary, India, 1945
Bill Cleary, India, 1945
Bill Cleary at age 75
Bill Cleary at age 75

58th Bomb Wing Veterans Index
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