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Lorene McDaniel Sands
Wife of Lt. William McDaniel MIA pilot of B-24D "Beautiful Betsy" 42-40387

How did you Meet William E. McDaniel?
Lt. William E. McDaniel, was my late husband. I called him Bill. Bill was raised in San Angelo, Texas. I met him in Plainview, Texas where he had come to work. I met him at Christmas in 1939. We were married on May 31st 1940. It was love at first sight. We moved to San Diego, California in early l941 and worked at Consolidated Aircraft Factory. We were working there the night Pearl Harbor was bombed. Bill immediately returned to Texas to join the Air Force.

What happened after Pearl Harbor?
Bill went through training at various places in Texas, Okla, and Kan. He received his Wings and Commission at Arlington Airfield, in Houston Texas. He was then sent to Ft Worth, Texas where he trained to fly the B-24 Bomber. He was then sent to California where he trained with his own crew. They were then sent to San Francisco, Calif. to depart for Darwin, Australia where they would join the 380th Bomb Squadron. But his Squadron had to leave without him because the day before they were to leave he and his crew brought in their plane that had caught fire. They landed safely and had to wait for a new Bomber to be issued. Then in about a week, May 1944, they took off alone to Darwin.

Tell about his wartime mission?
He flew 23 missions that I know. Bombing the Balkipan Oil Fields and other areas. On one Mission their Plane was running out of Fuel and they spotted a small fighter strip on the ground that they successfully landed on. I wish I knew more about his bombing missions, but his letters to me were encouraging and trying to keep me from fear for him. I know the missions were so lengthy that just that length was very dangerous.

When did you hear that he was MIA?
I was living on my Mother's and Dad's Farm with my precious son William E McDaniel Jr. When they came to get me to read a Telegram from the War Department that Lt. William E McDaniel's plane had been lost somewhere in the mountains of Australia. This was in February 1944. They searched for a year, then the Army Air Force declared him dead, in February 1945.

Speak about the 1994 discovery of the crash site
Fifty years later his plane, The Beautiful Betsy, was found in the mountains of Queensland. He and crew of seven men, two of whom were from England, were buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in a military ceremony. Bill was a proud man and would have appreciated this Honor. I'm sure you can feel the pain that remains with me yet.

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Lorene in 2001

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Lorene & Bill

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William E.McDaniel
in Cavalry uniform

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Lorene and son William Jr.

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