President Kennedy Presenting the Navy Unit Commendation to

Capt. W. B. Ecker and VFP-62

Biography of Capt. William B. Ecker

Captain William Boyce Ecker joined the Navy on 29 October 1942. He finished flight training in April 1944 and was commissioned as an Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve. In late 1944, Ensign Ecker joined VF-10 embarked in INTREPID (CV-11) for combat in the Pacific Theater. He left the squadron in November 1945 when he was promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade).

In 1946 and 1947, he was attached to VF-74 aboard the USS MIDWAY (CVA-41). In 1947, he was also commissioned into the regular Navy. He attended Stanford University from 1947 to 1949 and married Miss Kathryn Daley of Boston in December 1947 while at Stanford. In June 1949, he was assigned to VF-62 embarked in the ROOSEVELT (CVA-42) and remained with the squadron and Air Group Six (as Landing Signal Officer) until 1952, at which time he reported to General Line School at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. A tour in the training command as a flight instructor lasted until 1954, and was followed by a course of instruction in photography and jet reconnaissance at the Naval Air Technical Training Unit, Pensacola, Florida.

After NATTU, Lieutenant Commander Ecker became the First Lieutenant of the USS MIDWAY (CVA-41) and later became the First Lieutenant of the USS FORRESTAL (CVA-59) until 1956. From the FORRESTAL, he was assigned to VA-36 (and to Air Task Group 201) at the Naval Air Station, Cecil Field, and finished this two-year tour as the Executive Officer of VF-174.

Washington D.C. duty in Research & Development at the Bureau of Aeronautics and Bureau of Naval Weapons followed from 1958 to 1961. Commander Ecker then received orders as Commanding Officer of VFP-62 in 1962, and as the Commanding Officer he led the first low-level reconnaissance flight over Cuba thus providing the United States with positive proof of the Russian offensive build-up. For this and subsequent flights, he and his Squadron were decorated personally by President John F. Kennedy.

Following VFP-62, Captain Ecker became the Head of Naval Photography and Reconnaissance in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations until he was ordered to the Naval War College in 1966. While at the Naval War College, he received his Master of Science degree and after language training, he reported to the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Denmark, as Chief, Navy Section.

He commanded the Naval Air Technical Training Unit, which included the Naval Schools of Photography, for one year before being ordered to report to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in September 1971. From there, he retired in 1974.

Click to see: Capt. Ecker's Distinguished Flying Cross Letter

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Created on ... September 12, 2007