William J. Cooksey
U. S. Army Air Corps
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 11/02/1943 - 12/08/1945
Infantryman/supply clerk/Chaplain�s assistant, 99th Bomb Group

He was born in Whits, Mississippi, as one of nine children, and grew up on farms and ranches in Louisiana and Texas. He attended Sam Houston High School in Houston, and then entered a pre-college division at Sam Houston State Teacher's College in Huntsville where he earned a two-year teacher certificate in 1930. After graduating from the University of Houston, he taught school in Overby, Texas. He married Robbie C. Choate on January 31, 1941. William left a teaching position at Aldine High School in Houston to enter basic training for the U.S. Army at Mineral Wells, Texas on January 31, 1943. He sailed aboard a Liberty ship as a replacement rifleman in the Texas Division in late spring of 1944. He landed in Naples, Italy, and entered the front lines near Foggia. When a grenade exploded near him, shrapnel pierced his New Testament in his shirt pocket, and "went through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John" before lodging in the 17th chapter of Acts. From a field medical station he was taken to a hospital in Florence. Thirty days later he was back on the front lines, but returned to the hospital for 90 days for knee therapy. After recuperating William was transferred to the U.S. Army Air Forces, serving as a supply clerk as well as a chaplain's assistant in the 301st Bombardment Group. He was later transferred to the 99th Bombardment Group. William returned to the States on the USS Randolph on December 8, 1945, and entered Houston Conservatory of Music. He and Robbie earned advanced degrees--she a PhD in early childhood education, he a master's in music from Southern Baptist and Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. After careers in education in the Rio Grande Valley, they retired to Lufkin where Robbie passed away. William moved to Shreveport and married Louise Bell on January 13, 1999.