William Louis Madison

Chief Master Sergeant
United States Air Force
03 November 1935 - 24 January 1978
Lexington, KY
Panel 07E Line 062



USAF Aircrew

Purple Heart, Air Medal, AF Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for William Louis Madison

08 Mar 1999

I never knew William L. Madison or his family. In fact they live half way across the country from me. I will probably never meet his family, yet I wear a bracelet with his name on it.

People look at me strangely, after all I am a fifteen year old girl who wears a bracelet with a man's name on it whom I never met. I was once asked why I wear it. I guess I want to show people that the war isn't over. Not for the people who lost family members or those whose family members never came home.

I know this is a memorial page, so this my memorial: to all those who are still there or who were forgotten by the majority of society, do not give up hope because in a small town of California there is a fifteen year old girl who will do anything she can to keep your memory alive.

To all those who did not come home - your memory is alive and I hope you rest in peace.

24 Sep 2003

I wrote my memorial to William L. Madison five years ago. I thank The Virtual Wall for letting me express my deepest sympathies to not only William's family but to all families. It gave me the opportunity to come in contact with his family. In the past five years my appreciation and love for these families has only increased, they are in my hearts forever. I have worn his bracelet for seven years and have added another to the other wrist. I only wish I had more wrists!

Nicole Green
Clovis, California

27 Feb 2004

In October, 1961, fresh out of basic training, I was assigned to Mather AFB, CA. I was 18 years of age and not accustomed to being away from home. SSgt William (Bill) Madison and A1C Roosevelt (Butler) McMullen took the initiative to befriend me, and they immediately made my life on a military installation comfortable, teaching me the ropes and, in general, were my best friends. Bill was a good person who was always willing to help other people.

Though I had not been in contact with him since 1965, I have known that he was MIA for fifteen years or more. However I had no details pertaining to his missing status, and I have always wondered what happened.

I am thankful for the information I have obtained from the internet, because I was able to erase a question mark from my mind.

I have never forgotten Bill to this day, and his memory will always be with me.

Bill, may your soul forever rest in peace.

From a friend,
Earnest L. Jackson

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 15 May 1966 AC-47D tail number 43-49546, callsign "Spooky 10", of the 4th Air Commando Squadron departed Ubon RTAFB for a flight over southern Laos. The aircraft was flying a trial mission with .50 caliber machineguns in place of the usual 7.62mm mini-guns. The 50-Cal project officer, Major L. G. Reilly, was aboard together with the regular crew:
  • Maj George W. Jensen, pilot;
  • Maj Lavern G. Reilly, 7TH AF project officer and spare pilot;
  • Capt Marshall L. Tapp, co-pilot;
  • 1Lt George W. Thompson, navigator;
  • SSgt James A. Preston, load master;
  • Sgt James E. Williams, flight engineer;
  • Sgt William L. Madison, gunner;
  • A1C Kenneth D. McKenney, gunner; and
  • two unidentified South Vietnamese aircrewmen.
As dusk was approaching Jensen reported his position as about 30 miles west of the Lao/NVN/SVN border (the DMZ). Spooky 10 made another radio report at 2100 but did not give his position. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft and it did not return to base. Search and rescue efforts began at dawn on the 16th but failed to locate either the aircraft or any of its crew; all ten men were classed as Missing in Action. Three weeks later, on 07 June, a Pathet Lao radio broadcast made reference to a C-47 that had been shot down over Laos by a People's Army of North Vietnam anti-aircraft artillery unit, PAVN Group 559, on 15 May. The report indicated all 10 crewmen were killed.

After the US withdrawal, the Secretary of the Air Force approved Presumptive Findings of Death for all eight American crewmen (Madison on 24 January 1978). Later still, in 1994, a retired PAVN soldier related personal knowledge of a May 1966 crash of an American C-47 in Laos that killed 10 crewman. His information was substantiated by a review of PAVN Group 559 records.

Armed with this information, the crash site was located and confirmed as a C-47. Although reports indicated that the crew had been buried in three graves, only one gravesite could be located and excavated ... it proved to contain the remains of Maj George W. Jensen. Even though no other remains were located, other recovered items were judged to confirm PAVN Group 559's wartime report that all ten men had died in the crash.

Further excavations at the crash site led to the recovery of additional human remains, and in November 1999 DoD announced that DNA analysis had identified remains from each of the US crewmen. On Monday, May 15, 2000, a burial service with full military honors was conducted at Arlington National Cemetery for the eight Air Force and two Vietnamese crew members of "Spooky 10".

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index M
KY State Index . Panel 07E
4TH ACS Index

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009