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William E. Eisenhart
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William E. Eisenhart Biography

Thomas J. Quinn Crew    359th William E. Eisenhart Crew

William E. “Bill” Eisenhart enlisted in March, 1942 and was sent to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, MO for basic training. After Basic Training, he went to Airplane Mechanics School at Chanute Field, Illinois. He was in the last phase of Airplane Mechanics, when he was selected and withdrawn and put into the Pilot Training program. He graduated as a Flight Officer in April, 1943. He then went onto B-17 training with Flight Officer Thomas J. Quinn’s crew, of the 303rd Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. This crew was sent to Molesworth, England, arriving in August, 1943.He was credited with a total of 43 Combat Missions as Co-Pilot, Pilot, Operations Officer and then Squadron Commander of the 359th Bomb Squadron.

After the war, he returned to civilian life, settling in the Akron, OH area with his wife and daughter. He worked for the Seiberling Rubber company and then the Firestone Rubber Company. He was recalled back to active duty in October, 1948.

He served most of his long, impressive Air Force career in the Strategic Air Command, with a total of 25 consecutive years in SAC. During this SAC service, he flew 37 Air Alert missions (“Chrome Dome”). It was an additional 900 hours, for a total of 1,400 hours. The total air time flown was approximately 7,000 hours.

He flew 43 B-52 and KC-135 missions during 1971-72, out of U-Tapao, Thailand, during the Vietnam War. He was the Airborne Commander for two of the “Christmas War”, Linebacker II missions; the 3rd and the 6th night missions.

He retired as Base Commander from Rhein Maine Air base, near Frankfurt, Germany in October, 1976 and formally retired from the USAF, as a Colonel at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, FL in January, 1977. He served 32+ years active service and 3+ years as reserve, and is credited with a total of 35 years of military service.

He attended the first 303rd BGA reunion in Orlando, FL in 1975, while still on active duty. He was elected to the following 303rd BGA positions:

  • August, 1975 2nd Vice Chairman
  • August, 1977 1st Vice Chairman
  • August, 1979 President
  • August, 1981 Board of Directors
  • September, 1991 - October, 1999 as the 359th Bomb Squadron representative
He continues to strongly support the military, particularly the Air Force and now lives close the 8th Air Force Museum, which he proudly showcases to all his family and visitors.

He recently received the French Legion of Honor Award.

For more specific information about COL Bill Eisenhart’s 85 missions, please see: www.303rdbg.com/359eisenhart.html