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William Axel Aldrin


William Axel Aldrin was born in Chicago, IL in April of 1921 to Swedish immigrant parents. He was working as a commercial artist when he had the opportunity to join the Navy flight program sometime in late 1942. He went through pre-flight in Waukesha, WI and Iowa City, IA and started his blimp training at Moffett Field in California in August or September of 1943. In December of 1943 he continued his training at Lakehurst, NJ where he received his commission as Ensign, USNR, sometime in early 1944. Bill was then stationed at NAS Richmond in Homestead, FL.


In September of 1945, a devastating hurricane and fire destroyed the 3 blimp hangers, 25 airships, and other aircraft at NAS Richmond. He was discharged from active duty in the Navy in December of 1945 at the rank of LT. JG. Bill Aldrin was Vice President, Central, of the Naval Airship Association at the time of his death in March of 1988.

An accomplished artist, Aldrin created various cartoons, figures, and illustrations showing K-Ship engineering features, USN blimp evacuation procedures at sea, and other items of interest. William's daughters, Nancy Aldrin Harrison of Barrington, IL and Joanna Aldrin Norris (who was born while Bill was up in a blimp) and her husband Fred Norris, kindly provided the reproductions below to the NAA before they donated the originals to the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, FL.


Included in the slide show below are illustrations done by Bill Aldrin showing some K-ship engineering features and also a USN Blimp Evac procedures at sea book.

Aldrin sometimes flew with senior pilot Dan Cavalier so his WWII experience was likely similar to that of Lt. Daniel Cavalier.



Flight Emergency Bill

An emergency manual illustrated by Bill Aldrin

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