|William Devotie Billingsley|
April 24, 1887|
|Died||June 20, 1913
|Place of burial||United States Naval Academy Cemetery|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1905-1913|
Born in Winona, Mississippi, William Billingsley graduated from the Naval Academy in 1909. On December 2, 1912, he reported for duty at the Aviation Camp, Annapolis, MD and was assigned to the Navy-Wright B-2 for instruction.
Billingsley, designated as Naval Aviator No. 9, was the first naval aviator killed in an airplane crash. On June 20, 1913, while piloting the B-2 at 1,600 feet over water near Annapolis, Maryland, he was thrown from the plane and fell to his death. Admiral John Henry Towers, also unseated in the turbulence, was nearly killed in the same accident as he clung to the plane and fell with it into the water.
The Clemson-class destroyer USS Billingsley (DD-293) was named in his honor.
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