William Young Duggan
William Young Duggan was born on May 7, 1935 in Houston, Texas. As both of his paretnts passed early in his life, he was raisd by his Grandmother, Lottie Hooks Dies, on the Dies family ranch near Jollyville and Leander, Texas. He grew up riding horses, rooting for the Texas Longhorns, and working on fast cars. He developed a love of flying and a desire to serve his country which culminated in his joining the Air Force and becoming a fighter pilot.
After receiving his pilot wings, he married Margaret “Peggie” Ann Davidson and had two children, daughter Charlotte Ann and son Robert Scott.
On his first tour in Southeast Asia, he flew A1E’s with the Air Commandos out of Bein Hoa flying close air support missions. During these 265 combat missions, he received the “Order of the Able Aeronaut” award for successfully making a dead stick landing in an A1E, and saving the aircraft. On another close air support mission, he was forced to ditch his A1E in the Gulf of Tonkin. He swam ashore and buried his body in the sand pulling grass over his face. The Viet Cong came within two feet but never found him. His children knew that “Daddy” was the best Hide and Seek player ever to play the game.
On his second tour of duty in Southeast Asia. he flew F-4’s as a senior pilot with the Night Owl Squadron of the Wolf Pack from Ubon Air Base in Thailand. During these 192 combat missions, he flew “Fast FAC” or Fast Forward Air Controller missions. His job was to fly solo night time missions along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and destroy enemy anti-aircraft defenses and harass enemy supply lines.
During these tours of duty he amassed 457 combat missions which at the time of his loss was the highest number flown by a pilot to that date. Other Air Force duty assignments included stints with the Thunderbird squadron, instructor pilot, and weapons development.
During his career he was the recipient of numerous medals for his service, gallantry, and airmanship. They include the Bronze Star with “V” for valor (oak leaf clusters), Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Purple Heart, and numerous other decorations.
On the night of December 31, 1971, after mid-air refueling, he was piloting his F-4 over Laos and was shot down. To this date, the aircraft has never been found, and neither the remains of Major William Duggan (pilot and aircraft commander) or Captain Frederick Sutter (navigator) have been recovered.