Shannon Estill was born on June 22, 1922, in Enid, Oklahoma. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on July 25, 1942, and began flight training in February 1943, earning his commission as a 2d Lt and his pilot wings at Moore Field, Texas, in November 1943. His first assignment was as a flight instructor at Moore Field, followed by gunnery school at Ajo Army Air Field, Arizona, and then P-38 Lightning operational training at Santa Rosa, California, which he completed in September 1944. Lt Estill then deployed to Europe where he joined the 428th Fighter Squadron of the 474th Fighter Group flying P-38's at Florennes, Belgium, in November 1944. Lt Estill was killed in action in eastern Germany on Friday, April 13, 1945. His remains were not recovered after the war because his aircraft crashed in an area that was later controlled by the Soviet Union. Shannon Estill's remains were recovered in 2003, through the joint efforts of his daughter and a German air historian, and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on October 10, 2006.
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.