Bill passed away yesterday afternoon.
The following obituary will appear in the local papers in St. Mary's County, MD, Virginia Beach, VA and Kingsville, TX. Thanks for all of your prayers and support.
CDR William S. Donaldson, III, USN (Ret)
William S. Donaldson, 56, a retired Navy Attack Pilot, a nationally recognized aircraft crash investigator and local member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, died of a brain tumor August 22 at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in St. Mary’s County Maryland.
Bill Donaldson was an All-State football player at the Rancocos Valley Regional High School in New Jersey where he won a Football Scholarship to the University of Maryland and has since been inducted into the RVRHS Hall of Fame. He joined the Navy and entered flight school in 1965 and in 1968 he flew more than 70 Strike missions over North Vietnam and Laos in an A-4 Skyhawk off the aircraft carrier Intrepid. In later years he was the Air Traffic Control Officer on the carrier Forrestal and flew an A-6 Intruder off the carrier Eisenhower. In the mid 1980’s he was assigned to NATO in Naples Italy as a Nuclear Weapons Targeting Officer. Over his career he held assignments as Safety Officer and had extensive training in aircraft crash investigation and investigated numerous crashes, including one that was accidentally shot down by a missile. Bill was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; the Air Medal, 7th Award; Navy Commendation Medal (with Combat “V”) and numerous other medals and awards.
Bill retired from the Navy in 1991 and moved back to his family home on St. Clements Bay where he took up farming and was appointed to the St. Mary’s County Planning and Zoning Commission. In 1997, after reading an editorial by the Chairman of the NTSB about the tragic crash of TWA Flight 800, Bill had a letter to the editor published in the Wall Street Journal that began a 4 year effort to bring to light the true cause of the crash. Over that time he was interviewed on several hundred radio programs and appeared on several national TV broadcasts as an expert aircraft crash investigator and vocal critic of the NTSB and FBI investigation. He founded the Associated Retired Aviation Professionals (ARAP) and started a website, twa800.com, to document the many discrepancies in the “official” version of the crash and to the end remained committed to proving that the aircraft was shot down. He was not alone in this crusade as there are hundreds of other aviation professionals who will carry on the fight.
Bill is survived by his wife Joyce, one son, Michael of Houston TX, a daughter, Teresa of Avenue, Maryland, three grandchildren, Christopher, Hailey and Hana, one brother, Robert who lives in Falls Church, Virginia, and two nieces Jennifer & Jessica.
The family will receive friends at Brinsfield Funeral Home Sunday evening from 6-8 pm. The funeral service will be held at Christ Church, Chaptico Maryland, 10 am, Monday, August 27th. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the 7th District Rescue Squad, Avenue, Maryland, 20609.
Evidence of a Missile
Flight 800 Database
Bomb -------- 4%
Fuel Tank --- 14%