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Biography of Billy John Coley

Ennis, Texas

Billy Coley was a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force. On December 20, 1963 he was killed when his O1-E FAC airplane crash at Soc Trang Airfield. FAC stand for Forward Air Controller, which was also known as the flying bird dogs. Four squadrons were stationed in South Vietnam.

In Vietnam the flying bird dogs established a heroic tradition of doing whatever it took to try and save lives that were at risk on the ground. When a bird dog located the Vietcong, he marked the location with smoke grenades or rockets, and called for air or artillery strikes. The bird dog remained near the target in radio contact with the ground troops and the support strike forces. After the attack, a bird dog flew in to check battle damage and determine if the target was successfully destroyed or if more firepower was needed. 

Lt. Coley was born on July 8, 1938. He is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery in Waxahachie. He is listed on the Vietnam Wall, the Ennis Monument and the Ellis County Veterans Memorial.

The picture is courtesy of Perry Giles, Giles Monument Company, Waxahachie, Texas.

The bio information is the courtesy of William "Bill" Verebely.

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