William G. Page
U. S. Navy
Electronics Technician/Chaplain, VP-861, USAF SAC

This only child of John Paxton Page and Myrtle Wade Page was born in Shreveport. His father was a trucking contractor, worked in the oilfields as a roughneck, and served as a guard at Louisiana Ordnance Plant in World War II. His mother, an all-state basketball player, worked with an athletic department, SPAR, in teaching basketball and volleyball. Later she worked for the Louisiana High Department as a secretary. In World War II he recalls hearing of Pearl Harbor and seeing soldiers in the Louisiana Maneuvers. The soldiers shared their C-rations with him. The Pages lived on the Bossier side of the Red River where they raised chickens and sold eggs and milk. He also threw newspapers and sold milke for Foremost. In 1944 the family later moved to Laurel, Mississippi where the elder Page was a manager of McCullough Tool Company, a firm he had joined in Bossier City. William completed high school at Jones County Agricultural High School and Junior College. Meanwhile he worked at a store east of Laurel, where he cut meat, pumped gas, and sacked groceries. He played in the band where he met his future wife. He joined the U.S. Navy on May 31, 1949. He completed boot camp in San Diego, then entered electronics training at Naval Training Center in Millington, Tennessee. He was sent on to specialized aircraft maintenance in Norfolk, Virginia. At the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville he was assigned to VP-861, a reserved squadron of Norfolk that flew P2V2s. He was sent for three months on temporary duty to Port Leoni, North Africa, aboard the USS Private Eldon H. Johnson. Upon arrival, he trained in the P2V plane on training missions around the Mediterranean. On October 21, 1951 he married Betty Jean Monosmith. (They would have four children, 13 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.) William left the Navy and studied electrical engineering at Mississippi State College in Starkville, Mississippi. Meanwhile, he became music director of a small church and helped the pastor conduct revivals in Mississippi and Kentucky. William transferred to William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, graduated in 1955, and entered his first pastorate of two small churches in Mobile County, Alabama. Meanwhile, during the week, he traveled to New Orleans for classes at New Orleans Theological Seminary. Upon graduating he moved on to found a small Baptist church in Arcata, California, where both his parents and his wife's parents had moved. For income, he worked as a civil engineer and draftsman for an engineering company. He built another church, but by then the Vietnam War was raging and he felt a calling "for ministry there". Accepted as an air force chaplain, he was stationed at Viola, Arkansas, and flew aboard B-52s. He was stationed in Goose Bay, Labrador in 1968. William was stationed at Barksdale for three years. He was chaplain for the SAC NCO Academy and 2nd Air Force Leadership School. "I took them under my wing and they adopted me and those were memories like absolutely wonderful," he recalls. 2