Bill Cullerton was born on June 2, 1923, in Chicago, Illinois. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on September 11, 1942, and was commissioned and awarded his pilot wings on January 7, 1944. He was assigned to the 357th Fighter Squadron of the 355th Fighter Group in August 1944 and he was credited with destroying 5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 15 more on the ground and 9 damaged. Cullerton was shot down by flak on April 5, 1945, and was captured by a Waffen-SS Officer who shot him in the stomach and left him for dead. After being found by American forces, he was hospitalized and returned to the United States shortly after the war in Europe ended. Captain Cullerton received an honorable discharge on December 9, 1945. Bill Cullerton hosted the Great Outdoors Show on Chicago's WGN-Radio from 1979 to 1999. He was inducted into the International Sport Fishing Hall of Fame, the Illinois Military Aviation Hall of Fame, and he is enshrined in the Champlin Fighter Aces Museum in Mesa, Arizona. Bill and his wife Steve had five children and 19 grandchildren together. Bill Cullerton died on January 12, 2013.
His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to William J. Cullerton (0-706360), First Lieutenant (Air Corps), U.S. Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-51 Fighter Airplane in the 357th Fighter Squadron, 355th Fighter Group, EIGHTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces on 2 November 1944. On this date Lieutenant Cullerton shot down two enemy aircraft. First Lieutenant Cullerton's unquestionable valor in aerial combat is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 8th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.