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Former LT Bill Waples, USN

rondebmar

Ron "Banty" Marron
pilot
Contributor
Rx'd the following email last week:

PANTHER DOWN

"SOME OF YOU HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED OF BILL WAPLES DEATH. FOR THE REST OF THE SQUADRON, I RECEIVED A CALL FROM BILL WAPLES JR. THIS EVENING TELLING ME OF HIS DAD'S DEATH. BILL JR. HAD CALLED BILL IAMES AND A FEW OTHERS. FROM THE INFORMATION I HAVE, IT SEEMS AS THOUGH BILL WAS OUT HUNTING IN KY. AND WAS FOUND UNDER A FOUR WHEEL ATV. HE IS TO BE CREMATED AND HIS ASHES SPREAD ON HIS LAND IN PROSPECT, TN. HIS DEATH OCURED LAST SUNDAY."

Bill was the identical twin brother of John (AKA Jack) "Spineripper" Waples...T.R. Swartz' wingman during the MIG shootdown...Jack passed away a short while ago...wierdly enough, under much the same circumstances.

Bill and I made two full Med cruises together in the early 1960's...he as our squadron's LSO...flying Spads with VA-35. He "waved" me for at least a couple hundred traps, and we flew as section or division many times.

Never before published...on a short workup cruise aboard Saratoga off the Florida coast, I accompanied (as a PAX) Bill on my only ever ride in the AD-5...the four seater. We cruised around central Florida for awhile, smelling the scent of orange blossoms (citrus was a big central Florida industry back in that day), made Charlie time, and began the approach...turning base, I was acutely aware he had failed to lower the hook. At the last moment, I tapped him on the shouilder, and asked if he planned a touch & go
.

With a look of astonishment, he then slapped the hook lever down...

but in typical Paddles fashion...I don't recall him ever thanking me!!
(Sorry, A4s.)

Memorial service in Prospect TN held yesterday, with military honors...RIP Wapes.
 

Jabba

Member
pilot
Best John & Bill Waples story: Prior to John's outgoing change of command (squadron or CAG), the JOs filmed Bill wearing John's SDB uniform, standing in front of a giant American flag in the base theater (ala "Patton") and give a speech, much like the opening of "Patton" except with numerous slams on the Carrier CO, Admiral, LATWING and any other senior officers in attendance. Since they were identical twins, when the film was shown, Wapes kept telling the heavies "Hey, that's not me!". Never mess with the JOPA!
 
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