I regret to inform you of the passing of Bill Beckett last night. Bill and KP Rice were the two Marines that invented the OV-10. Without the efforts of these two men, none of us would have the OV-10 in common and our lives would have been different. Bill's name will be placed on our memorial prop along with the names of other Bronco Association members who have headed west. Below you will find the news from Bill's long time friend, KP Rice.
Sent: Sunday, May 17, 2009 11:46 PM
Just got word that Bill Beckett passed away this evening.
He was a great Marine as well as a gentleman and a true military scholar. Bill taught me a lot, not only about being a Marine aviator but also about how to think and how to live with integrity. I'll miss our long telephone debates on every subject in the world.
I had known Bill on a nodding basis since 1946, during my flight training, but I really first got to know him when I went to my first real squadron, 223, in 1949. I didn't really have my feet on the ground there before a jaunty young captain came up to me in the ready room and asked me if I wanted to learn how to become a real fighter pilot which of course I thought I already was. We subsequently spent hours in the sky pushing a pair of Corsairs to the limit with Bill getting the best of me 99% of the time.
Lots of tours in the same area, as well as a couple in the civilian world, really forged an unbreakable bond between us.
Thanks again for the honor of making both of us a part of a great organization, one that used our bird in every way we envisioned for it as well as several you guys improvised on the spot.