Dick Wilson was born on June 5, 1930, in Wabash, Indiana. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force through the Air Force ROTC Program at Indiana University on May 28, 1954, and went on active duty beginning June 13, 1955. Lt Wilson next completed pilot training and was awarded his pilot wings at Webb AFB, Texas, in June 1956, followed by pilot instructor school at Craig AFB, Alabama, from June 1956 to January 1957. His first assignment was as an instructor pilot with the 3561st Pilot Training Squadron at Webb AFB from January 1957 to August 1958, and then as an instructor pilot with the 3510th Flying Training Squadron and the 3510th Flying Training Group at Randolph AFB, Texas, from August 1958 to October 1961. During this time, Capt Wilson served a tour as an exchange pilot with Strategic Air Command, flying B-47 Stratojet bombers at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, from May to August 1958. His next assignment was to Brooks AFB, Texas, for an experimental aerospace physiological program, followed by service as the Physiological Training Officer and Air Operations Officer with the 3560th U.S. Air Force Hospital at Webb AFB from December 1961 to June 1965. He then served as Air Operations Officer, Physiological Training Officer, and Survival Training & Personal Equipment Officer for Detachment 1 of the 1129th U.S. Air Force Special Activity Squadron at the Atomic Energy Test Site north of Las Vegas, Nevada, known as Area 51, from June 1965 to September 1968. Maj Wilson next served as Chief of Jet Operations, and then Chief of Base Flight Operations, for the 824th Combat Support Group at Kadena AB, Okinawa, from September 1968 to September 1971, followed by service with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from September to October 1971. He then served as an A-1 Skyraider pilot and Wing Life Support Officer with the 56th Special Operations Wing at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from October 1971 to September 1972. During the last 6 weeks of his tour, Maj Wilson flew 15 combat missions in the QU-22B for the Igloo White Program, which placed and monitored sensors to detect traffic along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Lt Col Wilson's final assignment was as Chief of the Special Services Division with the 3380th Air Base Group at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, where he oversaw wing moral, welfare, and recreation from September 1972 until his retirement from the Air Force on December 31, 1976. After retiring from the Air Force, Dick owned and operated Wilson's Fishing Camp in Biloxi, Mississippi, from 1978 to 1990, served as superintendent of cultural affairs and then as head of the human resources department for the City of Biloxi from 1988 to 1995, and then started Art-FX Studio/Gallery in Gulfport, Mississippi.
His Bronze Star Medal Citation reads:
Major Dick E. Wilson distinguished himself by meritorious service as Chief, Wing Life Support Facility, 56th Special Operations Wing, while engaged in support of air operations against an opposing armed force a Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, from 7 October 1971 to 9 August 1972. Major Wilson displayed superior initiative, insight, and managerial skills in the consolidation and reorganization of the life support agencies at this base, saving the Air Force over $300,000. He developed and improved several different survival kit items that were subsequently approved for Air Force wide use. The exemplary leadership, personal endeavor, and devotion to duty displayed by Major Wilson in this responsible position reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.