2nd Lt Wendell W. Hockaday
March 9, 1923 – February 25, 1945
Graduation Date: May 23, 1944
Graduation Rank: Second Lieutenant
Unit: 332nd Fighter Group, 99th Fighter Squadron
Service # O-830781
Wendell was born in 1923 in Norfolk, Virginia. His parents were James Hockaday and Eleanor M. Barrett Hockaday.
Wendell attended the Tuskegee Air Pilot Institute in Tuskegee Alabama, earning his wings in June of 1944. He was assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, based at Ramitelli, Italy in December of that same year.
On Feb 25, 1945, Wendell was flying a P-51 nicknamed Apache 11, on a strafing mission to Munich, flying out of Ramitelli airbase. He attacked a locomotive 3 miles northeast of Munich, resulting in the train exploding with steam reducing the visibility of his plane. When his plane was once again visible, 18 inches of the left wing was torn off, and nearly all of the left aileron. Wendell radioed that he had no control of the aircraft. He was in the midst of the alps when Lt. W.M. Lucas advised him to parachute out because he could not maintain the height of the plane through the high peaks. Wendell radioed that he was bailing out, but Lt Lucas could not locate the plane, nor a parachute in the area. 2nd Lt. Wendell W Hockaday was reported missing over Uttendorf, Austria after suffering damage during a strafing attack.
When his body was recovered, he was buried in a temporary cemetery in St. Avold France. In 1949, his parents chose to have his remains returned to the United States. He was interred in the Hampton, Virginia National Cemetery on June 29, 1949. This is a National American Cemetery administered through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.