Retired Maj. Dave Williams, a former World War II fighter pilot, celebrated his 95th birthday at Perrin Air Force Base Historical Museum among family and other veterans Thursday. Williams spent a number of year serving at Perrin before moving his family to Sherman and becoming a teacher.
“I flew out of here,” Williams said. “I flew F-84’s out of here and the interceptor. I was also an instructor out here at Perrin. I was out here in the ’50s. I’ve flown here almost all my life in the interceptor program.”
Williams enlisted in the Air Force on July 2, 1941. He also reminisced about the birth of his children during his service, saying they spent some time living on base at Perrin.
“I’ve been here so long,” Williams said. “I have so many memories. My daughter was almost born here. She was born in Japan and then we had to wait until she was a couple months old before we could bring her back on the boat.”
After retiring from the Air Force, Williams went to college and became an Industrial Arts and History teacher for the Sherman Independent School District. He, along with other veterans, spend time volunteering at the museum and giving tours of the base.
Daughter Mary Heard remembered having fun as a child at the bowling alley and golf course that were located nearby.
“It was a small community,” Heard said of living on the base. “We lived here on base for a few years and then we moved to Sherman. The Air Force was a big part of our life. I was the lifeguard over at the old pool here when I was in college. I’ve always been an Air Force brat.”
Son David Williams was the younger child and spent less time on the base but said they came back to gather with friends frequently.
“When I was alive, we didn’t live much on the base,” David Williams said. “I was a very little kid still when we moved into Sherman. That’s really where most of my memories are. It was really fun growing up in a small town and I still have a lot of friends here.”
The Perrin Historical Society was created in 1995 but did not incorporate until 1998. Through donations and fundraising, the society was able to put together a museum. The Perrin Air Force Base Historical Museum opened in its current location in 2010.
The museum aims to research, record and preserve the history of Perrin Field during its 30 years of military installation from 1941 through 1971. It is located at 436 McCullum Avenue and is open for visitors Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.