F/O Claiborne Junior Wilson

This was written for the Stories Behind the Stars website, which plans to remember every WWII fallen. They provided training and a certain format, including footnotes for research. They even offered to link them to Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for An Iowa Family During World War II, but in order to do that I’d need to join something else.

By then, I was finishing up the manuscript for Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression and was exasperated by trying to jump through all their hoops and gave up.


F/O Claiborne Junior Wilson

Killed in a Training Accident near Yorktown, TX

F/O Claiborne Junior Wilson – was born on July, 1925, near Dexter, Dallas County, Iowa. His father, Claiborne Daniel Wilson, and mother, Leora Frances Goff Wilson, were born and raised in Guthrie County, Iowa. His father was a farmer and raiser of championship Duroc Jersey hogs. Junior Wilson had two older brothers, who served in the US Navy during the Great Depression and WWII, and two older brothers, who were pilots lost during the war. He also had two sisters.

Junior Wilson grew up during the Great Depression in and around Dexter, Iowa, 

graduated from Washington Township High School in 1942. He farmed with his father and brothers, tenant farmers near Minburn, Iowa, when the war broke out. Junior Wilson enlisted in the US Army Air Force September 1943.

Basic Training was at Sheppard Field, Wichita Falls, TX in late 1943. College Detachment was at Stilwater, OK, until March 1944. Preflight was at San Antonio, TX, until June 1944. Primary Cadet Training was at Curtis Field, Brady, TX until September 1944. Basic Training was at Majors Field, Greenville, TX, also Waco, TX, at the end of 1944. Advanced at Aloe AFB, Victoria, TX, graduating in the Class of 45-A. Transition Training was in P-40s at Foster and Aloe Fields, Victoria, TX. 

F/0 Wilson was the pilot of a P-40 when the engine threw a rod and exploded in formation training, August 9, 1945, near Yorktown, TX, killing Junior, age 20. 

When the telegram arrived about his death, his parents expected confirmation about one of their two sons still listed as Missing in Action. 

Five Wilson brothers served in the war. Only two came home. Junior Wilson is one of the three young pilots who lost their lives during the war. He is buried at Violet Hill Cemetery in Perry, Iowa. 

All five Wilson brothers are remembered on the Dallas County Freedom Rock at Minburn, Iowa. 


  1. Joy Neal Kidney has copies of Claiborne Junior Wilson’s Accident File,  letters sent home, telegrams sent to his parents, newspaper clippings. 
  2. Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for One Iowa Family During World War II
  3. Stories about C. Junior Wilson
  4. Findagrave  


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