Night of the Son Tay P.O.W. Raid


by William A. Guenon, Jr. 

Air Commando Pilot



Bill Guenon:
Biography of a Son Tay Raider

William A. “Bill” Guenon, Jr, a Pennsylvania native, was fortunate to have spent the majority of his aviation career covering many facets of the expansive transportation industry for both military and civil applications on a global basis.

Bill served in the U.S. Air Force as a command pilot, senior air traffic controller, and team leader for the USAF ATC analysis program.  He has logged more than 5,000 hours in 16 different types of aircraft from glider through multi-engine birds. These assignments included combat flight with expeditionary forces for stemming the tide of world communism.

A career highlight was his 1970 participation in the Son Tay P.O.W. Raid. His C-130E, a Combat Talon, special ops “Blackbird” served as the lead aircraft – barely flying on the edge of a stall at 20 knots below landing speed – with an unlikely formation of six helicopters, on a night, low level mission to within 20 miles of a highly-defended Hanoi, the enemy’s capital.

Enduring more than 20 years of military adventures, he finally went private and joined Raytheon Company in their Washington, D.C. office.  It was here he marketed ATC systems in the broad arena of U.S. agencies and foreign governments. Being restless, he moved to Massachusetts where he assisted Raytheon’s successful expansion of business development activities for air and vessel traffic management systems.  Over the decades he has been influential in the development, marketing, and selling technological advances for all forms of air, sea, and land conveyance applications.  More recently, he assisted a U.S. start-up company in pioneering fiber optic applications on planes, trains, ships, and trucks.

A bit of an adventurer, Bill finished third in the Great Atlantic Air Race that started from the top of the Empire State building in NYC and ended on the top floor of London’s Post Office Tower building. Although self-sponsored, his commendable race time of 7 hours, 39 minutes, and 42 seconds was independently accomplished in 1969, well before the supersonic Concorde, the world’s most magnificent piece of flying sculpture, went into commercial service. He used only an elevator, motorcycle, helicopter, race car, taxi, and a Pan American Clipper 707 to complete the top-to-top, across the ocean feat. Coordination was key for making time shrink.

Currently when not involved with consulting for Omni-Alliances and WagonWings Press, Bill can usually be found mingling at major aviation shows, exhibitions, and museums presenting a smattering of raid lectures along the way.