Col. Harold Weekley, 601st Bomb Squadron, 398th Bomb Group

Harold D. Weekley, the first child of Clara Johnson Weekley and Okey Weekley was born on July 17, 1921 in Carrollton, Ohio.

Harold Weekley saw his first flying machine in this mid-western town and became hooked on aviation, encompassing a career that spanned almost six decades. He began flight training in 1936 and paid for this training by selling newspapers.

Progress was very slow until Word War II, during which time everything was accelerated, including Weekley’s education. Prior to becoming an U.S. Army Air Force’s Aviation Cadet, Weekley was a member of the 305th Combat Engineers, attached to the 80th Division, located near Tullahoma, Tennessee. In the fall of 1942, he was assigned to the U. S. Army Air Forces and completed his flight training in the South eastern United States. He graduated from flight school on July 28, 1943 at Blytheville, Arkansas as an Army Air Forces pilot and, concurrently, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. At the completion of flight school, Weekley was sent to Sebring, Florida for B-17 Transition Training. On August 4, 1943, he married his high school sweetheart, Miss Wilma "Billie" Jeanne Wigginton of Steubenville, Ohio. In November 1943, Weekley reported to Dalhart Army Air Base, Texas for Combat Crew Training. Weekley went to England on May 6, 1944, where he was assigned to the 601st Bomb Squadron of the 398th Bomb Group (Heavy) at Nuthampstead, England. He flew twenty combat missions, the first being to Berlin and the last to Le Manoir, France, which was the mission on which he was shot down by flak on August 13, 1944. After bailing out at 20000 ft., Weekley successfully evaded capture for six weeks hidden by the local French people until he escaped to friendly lines and was returned to the United States.

After the war, Harold Weekley served as commanding officer and operations officer of various training, bomber and transport units. During the Korean conflict, he trained jet fighter pilots. During the Vietnam War, he trained jet instructor pilots and commanded development of the Fairchild C-119 gunship, called the Shadow, which was used in Vietnam. Additionally, he was an advisor to the Air Force Academy and served, also, as Supervisor of Pilot Instructor Schools and Standardization Board President. After retirement from the Air Force, Weekley worked with the Federal Aviation Administration for fourteen years in the Atlanta, Georgia area. He was qualified in both General Aviation and Air Carrier functions. He was a Principal Operations Inspector responsible for the certification of new airlines, flight engineer schools and commercial operators and responsible for the surveillance of all air carrier operations within the southern region of the U. S. Additional duties were accident investigator, and incident and violation coordinator. Weekley retired from the FAA in 1981, and served as Captain with the "Skylarks," a worldwide travel club, concurrently working for several years as an aviation consultant and as a volunteer pilot on the Experimental Aircraft Association’s restored B-17G Flying Fortress, Aluminum Overcast. Weekley amassed over 20000 flying hours in almost one-hundred different types of aircraft.

In 2007, he wrote a popular book detailing his flying and wartime experiences called, "The Last of the Combat B-17 Drivers", published by Flying Fortress International. Weekley was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, Harmony Lodge #3 in Marianna, Florida for over fifty-six years, and American Legion Post #216 in Austell, Georgia.

Today, Harold Weekley enjoys his retirement with his wife, Billie.


Harold Weekley flew over 20 missions into France and Germany during World War 2.
I met him at the ceremony in Picauville, Normandy, France, June 5, 2009. Harold said his favorite aircraft is the B-17 because, ''Most of the time, it was bringing me home.''

In memoriam

Harold D. Weekley, died peacefully on September 22, 2010 at the age of 89, survivors include Wilma Jeanne Weekley,  sister Maxine Hreha of Titusville, Florida, two sons Gary and William Weekley and one grandson and two granddaughters.

Always Remember - Never Forget

R.I.P. sir