Bill Stangel was born on December 1, 1914, in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force on June 19, 1941, and after completing flight training, he completed advanced flight training in England before being assigned to the No. 559 Squadron of the Royal Air Force in England in August 1942. Stangel was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Army Air Forces on October 28, 1942, and was assigned to VIII Fighter Command in England from October 1942 to July 1944. Capt Stangel was next assigned as a P-51 Mustang pilot with the 328th Fighter Squadron of the 352nd Fighter group in England from August 1944 to March 1945, and then as an Air Inspector with Headquarters 352nd Fighter Group from March to September 1945. During this time he was credited with the destruction of 5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat. His next assignment was as an Air Inspector in Germany from September 1945 to December 1948. His final assignments were as an Air Inspector at Craig AFB, Alabama, and at Kelly AFB, Texas, from December 1948 until he left active duty on April 14, 1950. Bill Stangel died on January 3, 1974.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.