Hall of Fame Inductee

Rodney D. Williams

Born: 01/29/1896
Died: 11/27/1972
Inducted: 10/26/2002

Born in Delafield, Wisconsin in 1896, Rodney Williams was a student at Carroll College in Waukesha in April 1917 when the United States entered World War I. The United States was unprepared for the war, so Williams became one of 300 Americans who took flight instruction with the Royal Canadian Air Force in Toronto. He was then assigned to the 17th "American" Aero Squadron attached to the Royal Air Force. In July and August 1918, Williams piloted a speedy Sopwith Camel fighter in combat over France.

He downed four enemy airplanes and one balloon to qualify as Wisconsin's first combat "ace". Wounded on his last mission, Williams landed safely, but was hospitalized for the rest of the war. He came home to Waukesha, where he helped found the Waukesha Aviation Club and became the first manager of the Waukesha County Airport, but gradually gave up flying. When he passed away in 1972, Wisconsin's first combat ace was known as one of the finest dairy farmers in Jefferson County.
Lt. RD Williams, AEF
Lt Rodney D Williams, AEF
(WAHF photo)
Lt Williams Sopwith Camel
Lt Williams Sopwith Camel
(WAHF photo)
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The nomination process for individuals that you consider worthy of induction into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame is straightforward and has just one requirement. Individuals wishing to make a nomination must be a member of the organization. Complete the membership application (pdf) to become a member, fulfilling that requirement. The nomination form (pdf) is simply a coversheet for the substantiation materials that you provide. We ask that you provide as much material as possible so that we may give due consideration to your nominee.
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