2d Lt Wayne Vincent Liggins
May 16, 1918 – March 9, 1944
Graduation Date: June 30, 1943
Graduation Rank: 2d Lt
Unit: 332nd Fighter Group, 301st Fighter Squadron
Service # O-807102
Wayne was born in 1918 to Elmer L Liggins and his wife, Irene Bertha Smith. His family called him by his middle name, Vincent. He grew up in Xenia, Ohio where his father was educated to become a minister. But Vincent lived with his grandmother, who raised him. She had lost her husband and had a grocery store, so he and his younger brother lived with her, but spent the summers with his parents. Vincent graduated from Xenia East High School in 1936, as salutatorian, and was enrolled in a premedical course at Wilberforce University, graduating in 1940.
In Oct of 1940, he was employed by the Biltmore Hotel. He spent summers working at defense plants in Springfield. Vincent was accepted into Maharry Medical College after he entered the service, but he remained committed to serve his country. He completed basic training in Tampa and enrolled in the Air Pilot program in Tuskegee, graduating with the second such class in June of 1943. He married a fellow student he had met at Wilberforce, Kathryn Scott, in July of 1943.
While he continued his training at Selfridge field, he was piloting a plane when something went wrong with the motor and he was forced to land on a private farm in Michigan, owned by Harold E Van Sickle.
The plane was slightly damaged, but he suffered only a few bruises. In December of 1943, he was sent to Italy with the 301st Fighter Squadron.
On March 9, 1944, Vincent was flying out of Montecorvino on a routine training mission when he attempted a force landing, only to have his engine fail and the plane go into a spin. He was killed in the accident. Just the day prior, he had been praised for a successful mission with three others from his squadron.
He was an Anzio beachhead casualty, and his body was returned with 25 other casualties from the Cincinnati area in early July of 1948 for burial. He is buried at Cherry Grove Cemetery in Xenia, Greene County, Ohio.