American Patriotic 11

William "Bill" Everett Caslin

February 5, 1928 ~ August 10, 2020 (age 92)

Obituary

William Everett “Bill” Caslin, 92, of Alexis, IL passed away Monday, August 10, 2020, 4:25 p.m.at the Marigold Rehab and Health Care Center Galesburg, IL.  Bill was born February 5, 1928, in Alexis, IL, the son of William Patrick and Nancy Elizabeth (Holmes) Caslin.

 

Bill graduated from Alexis High School in May 1946, and began his military career two months later, enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he became skipper of an Air Ship Rescue boat, attaining the rank of Sergeant.  He entered flight training as a Naval Cadet in 1949 and was designated a Naval Aviator and commissioned a Second Lieutenant upon completion of training in 1951.  He retired from the USMC in August 1968, having achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

 

He was awarded the Air Medal with two gold stars for 65 combat missions in Korea.  He was a pilot with the Wolf Raiders squadron of Marine Air Group 12 of the First Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) in Korea.  He was in the first wave during the initial attack on North Korea’s capitol, Pyongyang.  In June 1952, the 24-year-old Second Lieutenant led a flight of Wolf Raiders in a highly successful raid against Communist gun positions and troop emplacements near Kumsong, destroying 19 bunkers; knocking out mortar positions, artillery, and automatic weapons; and setting off secondary explosions.  The next month Bill crash-landed his skyraider on a dusty road inside the front lines after the plane’s engine failed and was subsequently rescued.

 

Bill was with the 2nd MAW in the Vietnam era, serving in Vietnam, throughout Southeast Asia, and in the United States.  In 1964, he served dual role as a commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group-31 and Officer-in-Charge of Sub-Unit-1, H&MS, during Operation Steel Pike 1, and the unit was cited for outstanding achievement.  In May 1965, as a Major, he assumed command of Marine Air Base Sqauadron-31 under Marine Aircraft Group 13 in Beaufort, S.C.  After an overseas tour that fall, he was commanding Officer of MABS 13.  In April 1966, in Japan, he was cited for his performance as Captain of a Beechcraft D18 that participated in an unusual aircraft relay in stormy weather to provide aid in a civilian medical emergency.

 

Among the aircraft Bill piloted during his military career were the F6F Hellcat, the Skyraider, the Corsair, the Grumman F9F Panther (carrier-based jet), and the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II long-range supersonic jet.  His Military Occupation Specialty was Jet All-Weather Fighters, and early in his military career, he served as a jet fighter instructor.

 

Bill received a B.S. from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Science in Education from Western Illinois University.  He taught school in Alexis and ROVA school districts for 17 years, retiring in 1985.  He was a part-time Golden Rule insurance agent from 1979 to 1985.  He was the Fixed Base Operator at Monmouth Municipal Airport, 1986-1990, and was a certified flight instructor in the Alexis area for many years.  He held a variety of other jobs during his “retirement”.  He was a member of the Monmouth Flying Club and of the Experimental Aircraft Association for several years, having built several experimental aircraft.  He was a Cessna pilot, a ham radio operator, a Heathkit electronics enthusiast, and enjoyed swimming daily, golf, sailing, and building model airplanes and ships.  He participated in numerous Elderhostel projects across the United States and trained obedience dogs, participating in AKC competitions.  He was an avid reader of military/political history who credited his love of such to being a student of celebrated historian/author Gordon W. Prange at the University of Maryland.  He was a motorcycle enthusiast from age 18 to 80, having ridden his Indian motorcycle cross-country while in his late teens.

 

Bill married Donna Marlene Woolsey at St. Ann’s Church in Edenton, North Carolina, on April 9, 1953.  She preceded him in death in March of 2016.

 

Bill is survived by sons, Michael W. (Bonnie) Caslin, and Patrick David Caslin; daughter, Susan E. Caslin; grandchildren, Jennifer, Chris, Brian and Molly; 7 great grandchildren; 3 great-great grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

 

He was preceded in death by his wife, granddaughter (Betsy Caslin), parents, and 5 siblings (Mary Bell, Dorothy Beard, and Richard, Robert and Gerald Caslin).

 

Cremation rites have been accorded, with a private family burial at Alexis Cemetery.  A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests any memorials be made to the Caslin Memorial Scholarship at United North Elementary School – 411 W. Hunt Ave Alexis, IL 61412.  Please sign the online guestbook at www.wisefamilyfuneralhome.com.  Wise Family-Hoover Hall Funeral Home Alexis, IL is in charge of the arrangements.

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