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Name: William Thomas Ponder
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Croix de Guerre with 4 Palms
William Ponder
Country: United States
Rank: Lieutenant
Service: French Air Service
United States Air Service
Units: Spa67, Spa163 (FAS)
103rd Aero (USAS)
Victories: 6
Born: 16 March 1891
Place of Birth: Llano, Texas, USA
Died: 27 February 1947
Place of Death: Amarillo, Texas, USA
Cemetery: Riverside Cemetery, Mangum, Oklahoma, USA Image
After serving with the French Air Service and scoring three victories, William Thomas Ponder transferred to the United States Air Service on 27 February 1918. Assigned to the 103rd Aero Squadron on 7 September 1918, he scored three more victories in October while flying the SPAD XIII. In 1932 he encountered problems with the law when he was caught smuggling Mexican beer into the country. During World War II Ponder was employed by Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation in Fort Worth. After the war he formed the Ponder Aircraft Sales Company and was on a business trip to Amarillo, Texas when he died, age 53, in a hotel room from a heart attack.
The San Diego Union, San Diego, California, Friday Morning, 2 August 1918, page 10
Morning Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sunday, 9 April 1933, page 3
The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Saturday, 11 June 1921, page 3
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to William Thomas Ponder, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Fontaines, France, October 23, 1918. Having been separated from, his patrol, Lieutenant Ponder observed and went to the assistance of an allied plane which was being attacked by 30 of the enemy. Lieutenant Ponder destroyed one enemy plane .and so demoralized the remaining that both he and his comrade were able to return to their lines.
General Orders No. 46, W.D., 1919
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 28 May 1918 Spa163 SPAD LVG C 1 Savigny
2 08 Jul 1918 Spa163 SPAD EA Somme-Py
3 11 Aug 1918 1205 Spa163 SPAD Two-seater 2 Betheniville
4 19 Oct 1918 0835 103rd SPAD XIII Halberstadt C 3 La Croix aux Bois
5 23 Oct 1918 1140 103rd SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Fontaines
6 30 Oct 1918 1550 103rd SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII 4 Bois de Barricourt

1 Shared with Lt Thomas Cassady, Cpl Dequeker
2 Shared with Lt Thomas Cassady, Sgt Cook
3 Shared with Lt Frank Hunter
4 Shared with Lt H B Bartholf
American Aces of World War 1
by Norman Franks, Harry Dempsey (Illustrator) / Paperback / Osprey Publishing (September 25, 2001)
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
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