Bomb Group

380th Bomb Group Association

NEWSLETTER #16 - August 2003


Here's a description of a new book that will be published soon entitled "FINDING BILLY: An Internet Odyssey," by Diana Thompson Dale, which may be of interest to our membership.

When Billy Wisner's P-38 fighter plane disappeared over the Italian Alps in 1944, all the U.S. Government would tell his mother was that he was "missing, presumed killed." She never found out what had happened to her son. Heartbroken and frantic, she wrote letters to everyone she could think of but never got an answer. She died still desperate to know.

But we never know what legacies we leave and, unwittingly, she had passed her determination to find the truth to her granddaughter. Fifty-six years after Billy vanished, Diana Dale took advantage of the instant communications miracle of the Internet and discovered a tantalizing clue to her uncle's fate.

A government memo written in 1952 said Billy's ID bracelet and some remains had been found, a fact never revealed to Billy's family. But where? Why? How? The mystery deepened when Dale found that the government had lost the file bearing the answer. Reaching out across cyberspace, she found and enlisted the help of a far-flung network of strangers who dedicated themselves to finding Billy.

The group's only connection was the Internet, and their story shifts back and forth from the U.S. to Europe and up and down the remote Alps of northern Italy on a suspenseful digital quest for the truth.

The result is a compelling blend of history, mystery, discovery, and loss, as unlikely friendships are forged across cultures and continents.

And a life-long enigma is solved at last.

Even though Billy didn't serve in the Pacific, there may have been members of the 380th who were at Eagle Pass with Billy (or perhaps Perrin Field or the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center). He was in class 44-B.

The book is priced at $16.95,but is offered at a pre-publication price through September 30, 2003, of $12.95 (plus $3.00 shipping). It's 384 pages, ISBN 0-974-15963-8. Please check out Diana's web site, www.findingbilly.com, for more information. You can also contact her directly by email at dianadale@viawest.net or by mail at 15 Corona Street, Denver, CO 80218-3803.

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