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San Antonio Light (TX), April 18, 1928 (Source: Woodling)
San Antonio Light (TX), April 18, 1928 (Source: Woodling)


M.T.Sgt. W.L. Pounders landed once at Tucson, Thursday, April 19, 1928 at 1:00PM, flying Curtiss OC-2, BuNo. A-7968. He was a relatively rare non-commissioned officer pilot. He carried a single passenger he identified as Private Wester. They were westbound from El Paso, TX to San Diego, CA.

From the San Antonio Light of April 18, 1929, right, we know why he landed at Tucson that day. Pounders was part of a flight of four (he is mentioned in the article about half-way down).

They were led by Register pilot Harold D. Campbell shown in the photo at right. All four were signed in the Register on April 19th. He was part of a group ferrying three new Curtiss Falcons to the west coast. They were A-7961, A-7962 and A-7968. The pilot of A-7691 was H.D. Campbell, pictrured in the article at right, A-7962 was flown by Glenn M. Britt, and A-7968 was flown by Pounders.

The fourth airplane is mentioned near the bottom of this article. It was a Ford transport, A-7526 flown by S.W. Callaway. It was on separate mission to the west coast to ferry pilots and mechanics back to Washington. Interestingly, the return flight of A-7526 is captured in the Register on April 27th, with a list of the pilots and mechanics carried byi Callaway.

Walter Lee Pounders was born on June 6, 1897 in Colt, AR. His father, a farmer, died in 1903 leaving Walter and his older brother James in the care of their mother. According to the 1910 census, 12-year old Walter and his brother were working in a saw mill. He joined the Marine Corps in 1917 at Fort Royal, SC. He immediately was enrolled in Boot Camp at Parris Island, NC. From
1917-1919 he served as a Corporal, Marine Air Wing.

He served as a Private and an aerial mechanic in the 1st Aeronautical Company, Marine Detachment, Naval Base, Azores during WWI. As of October, 1919, he was serving in the Marine Aviation Force in Haiti.

From 1920-1924 he served as a Gunnery Sergeant. From 1927-1930 he was a Chief Warrant Officer 5.

According to the Corsicana Daily Sun (TX), July 17, 1930, as of July 16th Pounders was serving in Managua, Nicaragua as a gunner and pilot. On that day he and Charles Lewis Martin, a marine aerologist, were killed while making an aerological flight ten miles south of Managua at Ticuautepe, Nicaragua. At that time he was serving with HQ Company, Service Company 3M, 2nd Brigade, Managua, Nicaragua. Other news reports stated that the airplane was an O2U Corsair.

The cause of the accident was unknown. A relief plane reported the machine crashed into a hillside. Both bodies were found in the cockpit. Pounders apparently had been killed instantly.

W.L. Pounders, 1897-1930 (Source:F-G)
W.L. Pounders, 1897-1930 (Source:F-G)





Pounders' next of kin was given as his brother, James S. Pounders. James applied for, and received, the standard military gravestone for placement on his brother's grave in Hughes, AR. James Pounders' application for his brother's headstone is below. The stone is at left, courtesy of Find-a-Grave.

W.L. Pounders, Headstone Application (Source: Woodling)
W.L. Pounders, Headstone Application (Source: Woodling)



The Register

I'm looking for information and photographs of Pounders and his airplane to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.


Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.


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