Wilbur Aring was born on April 27, 1908, in Dayton, Ohio. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army on June 24, 1931, and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the Army Air Corps Reserve and was awarded his pilot wings on June 29, 1932. Lt Aring served as a pilot at Selfridge Field, Michigan, and Maxwell Field, Alabama, from July 1932 to July 1938, followed by service as an instructor pilot and training squadron commander at Kelly Field, Texas, from July 1938 to July 1941. His next assignment was as a training group commander at Foster Field, Texas, from July 1941 to March 1942, and then on the staff of Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces in Washington, D.C., from March to September 1942. Col Aring next served on the staff of 12th Air Force in North Africa from September to December 1942, followed by service as Commander of the 319th Bomb Group in North Africa from January 1943 until he was forced to bail out over enemy territory and was taken as a Prisoner of War on July 5, 1943. He was held at Stalag Luft 3 in Sagan-Silesia, Bavaria, and later at Nuremberg-Langwasser, before escaping on April 18, 1945. After returning to the United States, Col Aring served as Deputy Base Commander and then Base Commander of Greenville Army Air Field, South Carolina, from August 1945 to January 1946, and then Deputy Commander of the 47th Bomb Group at Lake Charles Army Air Field, Louisiana, from January to April 1946. His next assignment was as Commander of the 544th Ar Service Group at Lake Charles from April to August 1946, followed by Air War College at Maxwell Field from August 1946 to June 1947. He then served on the faculty at the Air War College from July 1947 to August 1950. Col Aring attended the National War College in Washington, D.C., from August 1950 to June 1951, followed by service on the staff of Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from July 1951 to July 1954. His next assignment was as Commander of the 38th Bomb Wing at Laon AB, France, from July 1954 to August 1957, and then back on the staff of Headquarters U.S. Air Force from August 1957 to June 1960. He then served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel with the Air Force Missile Test Center at Patrick AFB, Florida, from July 1960 to April 1961, followed by service as Commander of the 3rd Air Force Reserve Region at Dobbins AFB, Georgia, from May 1961 until his retirement from the Air Force on November 1, 1965. Gen Aring died on December 18, 1980, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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.