William Graf Eppright was born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on May 3, 1923,1 to George A. Eppright and Helen Graf.2 A World War I veteran, George Eppright worked as a mechanic in the textile machinery industry3 and later as a millwright.4 William attended Overbook High School in Philadelphia, PA. He ran track.5 He had an older brother named George.6
As shown on his World War II draft registration card, pictured here, William Eppright registered for the draft in Philadelphia, PA on June 30, 1942.7 He was nineteen years old. On October 1, 1942, he began his service in the US Navy.8 He served at home from August 1944 to August 1945, when he transferred to a ship in San Diego, California.9 He was probably in pilot training in Oregon where he married Mildred Anna Brady on January 27, 1945. It is possible that he was stationed at Klamath Naval Air Station.10 Mildred moved back to Philadelphia as William returned to duty in the Foreign Service.11
As the war in the Pacific neared its conclusion, Eppright served as an Ensign aboard the USS Siboney (CVE-112), an escort carrier12 moored at the Naval Repair Base, San Diego, CA, 5.13 In early August 1945, as recorded in the US Navy War Diary pictured here, the USS Siboney received provisions and prepared to ship out.14 On August 8, 1945, the USS Siboney and the USS Hyman left San Diego for Pearl Harbor. During this time, the ships conducted routine practice maneuvers and anti-submarine patrols. On August 10, 1945, during routine practice, three turboprop aircraft collided approximately eight hundred feet in the air. Two of the planes “crashed into the sea and burned.” The other “sustained a broken propeller, bent cowling and a six inch rip in the port fuselage but was able to land aboard safely.” The USS Hyman, along with aircraft from the USS Siboney, conducted a “search in the vicinity of the crash” but “no survivors were sighted.” Ensign William Eppright was listed as one of the six pilots and crewmen presumed lost and killed in action.15
Eppright was survived by his widow Mildred and his father George. Both Mildred and George filed for Veterans’ Compensation through the state of Pennsylvania. Eppright’s widow, Mildred, was declared ineligible to receive compensation because she remarried in December 1946. Eppright’s father, George, did receive $500 in compensation.16
William Graf Eppright is listed on World War II memorial in the Presidio, San Francisco, CA. It was designed by New York sculptor Jean De Marco to honor servicemen who had been lost in the Pacific waters during World War II. Dedicated on November 29, 1960, the memorial bears the names of 413 armed forces members who died between 1941 and 1945.17 Ensign Eppright is also memorialized in Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.18
2 “1930 United States Federal Census,” database, Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com (accessed April 9, 2017), William G. Eppright, Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2102; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 1162; Image: 764.0; FHL microfilm: 2341836.
4 “1940 United States Federal Census,” database, Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com (accessed July 20, 2017), entry for William Eppright, Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3699; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 51-397.
6 “1930 United States Federal Census,” William G. Eppright.
9 “Pennsylvania, Veteran Compensation Application Files, WWII, 1950-1966,” Database. Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com (accessed April 9, 2017), entry for William Graf Eppright, Box Title: English, Max Marion-Erdley, James E, Box Number 230.
17 "World War II Memorial." National Parks Service, accessed April 10, 2017. https://www.nps.gov/prsf/learn/historyculture/world-war-ii-memorial.htm.
18 “U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca 1775-2006,” database, Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com (accessed July 20, 2017), entry for William Graf Eppright;
National Cemetery Administration, "William Graf Eppright," US Department of Veterans Affairs, accessed September 18, 2018, https://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/NGLMap?ID=5470472
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