June 18, 1947
Pierce Winningham “Mac” McKennon, a talented musician more widely remembered as a World War II flying ace, died in a student training accident near San Antonio, Texas. McKennon had grown up in Fort Smith (Sebastain County) and left the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville (Washington County) without finishing. He left the United States Air Corps because of lack of aptitude, but he eventually rose to the rank of major in the U.S. Air Force. After dropping out of the Air Corps, McKennon had gone to Canada and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force; he was later assigned to the Eagle Squadron in Shropshire, England. He was shot down twice behind enemy lines in Europe and made spectacular escapes before returning to the United States.