Memories of Col Dave Schilling
By Bill Gibson
As a child, I was the next door neighbor of Colonel Dave Schilling, who, at various times, commanded the 62nd Fighter Squadron of the 56th Fighter Group, served as the 56th's flying XO, and commanded the 56th after Zemke's departure. I knew him well.
My close friendship was actually with his son, David, Jr. We did the usual things as kinds living in a semi-rural area (now totally urbanized). Of course I knew Dave, Sr., who was always willing to answer questions about flying for an aspiring aviator.
Part of what I want to pass on occurred not at Boxted or the other WW II bases, but while they were living next door to us in Arlington, VA. While Dave was one of the great American fighter pilots of the ETO (22.5 kills), he is also known as a pioneer in air-to-air refueling, and made the first non-stop jet flight from England to the US (barely) in late 1950.I knew many of the other pilots involved in that endeavor, including Bill Ritchie, his wing-man who had problems with the equipment in his aircraft and had to eject near Newfoundland, and Bill Bacon, who piloted on of the American refueling aircraft.
Dave also had the first Jaguar XK-120 I had ever seen, and of course, I thought it was awesome. Dave was active in sports cars and racing for the remainder of his life, which ended tragically in England in 196. Dave was driving an Allard J2X sports car, and lost control on a rain slick English road, and crashed against a bridge abutment. I think folks would like to know that about him, too.