William C. Christian

Aircraft Commander

61st Troop Carrier Squadron




Directors and Members will Miss Bill Christian

MacNexus Director-at-Large William C. Christian, 77, passed away on Wednesday, September 16, 2009, at Jersey Shore Medical Center, Neptune, New Jersey, after a short stay in the hospital.  Bill discovered MacNexus in 1992 and attended his first meeting that December at the Almond Growers Exchange. Soon after that, he purchased a used Mac Classic. After years of enjoying the Saturday workshops and Tuesday meetings, starting in 2002, Bill became actively involved by selling raffle tickets and announcing the winners. He began attending Board meetings as a guest in 2004, and was elected Director-at-Large in 2009.  Originally planning to be a priest, he attended St. Charles Preparatory Seminary in Baltimore, until introduced to flying.  He joined the Aviation Cadets for flight training at Reese AFB Texas, in 1953, and then obtained his Air Force commission in 1954. As a pilot in the pioneer days of the Lockheed C-130, he participated in its first international deployment in 1958 (Lebanon Crisis) and most Vietnam era deployments. As a member of Project Outlook, he refined C-130 tactics, assault landings, low-level formations, airdrops and cargo extraction. Assigned to the 61st Troop Carrier Squadron at Sewart AFB, TN, he was the second pilot (following the squadron commander) to land a ski-model C-130D (big skis were attached to the landing gear) on the Greenland icecap,


And then on Antarctica in 1960. Check the Firebird Association for more information.  Bill became a Typhoon Chaser in the western Pacific region with the 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron on Guam for 10 years, tracking tropical storms and performing air-sampling missions. A particularly memorable event was surviving Super Typhoon Pamela on Guam in 1976.  He was assigned to McClellan AFB, in 1977 with the 55th WRS, where he transitioned to the WC-135B jet aircraft (military version of the Boeing 707) flying long-range reconnaissance. He retired from the Air Force in 1983 with 29 years military service and made Sacramento his permanent home.  After that, he continued his flying career with Southern Air Transport in the Lockheed L-382, the civilian version of the C-130.  SAT took over some assets from Air America and continued similar missions. He flew from 1984-92, but continued ground work with SAT until 1998. He was recognized by Lockheed as one of the few aircrew members to reach 10,000 pilot flying hours in the C-130/L-382.  Bill truly enjoyed meeting and working with MacNexus members, and made many personal house calls over the years to assist them with Mac issues. He was also in the Knights of Columbus, Order of Daedalians and the P-38s. He was a great asset to MacNexus and will be fondly remembered.