Fallen Warrior: Col. William C. Dolan

  • Published
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

For our Fallen Warrior commemoration this week we remember Wisconsin native, Col. William C. Dolan, Army Air Force First Sea-Search Attack Group commander.

Dolan received classified orders in 1941 during World War II and was tasked with the development of tactics, techniques and procedures needed to use airborne radar systems to find and destroy enemy U-boats.

The First Sea-Search Attack Group, activated in 1942, helped develop and test the absolute altimeter used to determine an aircraft’s exact altitude and the radio sonic buoy, an effective depth bomb.

On Feb. 13, 1945, Dolan and nine accompanying crewmen of a B-24 Liberator departed with the mission of delivering the latest bombing radar to the European theatre of operations, but a severe snowstorm caused them to reroute a landing.

After a failed attempt to contact Dolan’s aircraft on Feb. 14, 1945, some personnel had briefly seen it traveling over a radar tower. Other personnel flying in a C-54 Skymaster reported seeing an explosion northeast of the tower. Dolan and the nine crewmen did not survive the crash and the aircraft wasn’t found until mid-March, coved in snow and trees.

Keesler’s Dolan Hall is named in his honor. Thousands of Airmen each year are trained in radar, radios, telephones and computer networks. Dolan's memory lives on to inspire young leaders at Keesler to dominate the cyberspace domain.

Editor's note: The Fallen Warrior series highlights Fallen Warriors who exemplify our core values and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Take a moment to honor this week’s hero.