HT (Bill) Hilliard – USS Eugene PF40

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Bill Hilliard. b 1919, Houston TX   –   d 1994

Attended Choate Prep, then about 2 years at Rice University. After the Pearl Harbor attack he joined the USCG and because he knew how to navigate with a sexton and had sailing experience, became the commanding officer of the USS Eugene PF40, a fighting frigate (after Commander CR MacLean). After the war, he founded Tex-Mex Towing and then Southwestern Barge Fleet Service in Channelview, TX.

I believe he was about 26 when he took command on March 21, 1945 and I understand he was one of the youngest commanders in WWII. Although his actual rank was Lt Commander, he was the commanding officer of this vessel at the end of the war.

Plankowners Certificate
USS Eugene PF-40  Plankowners Certificate

I have a full copy of the journal/diary of the operation of the vessel, a sample is here: Two-Ocean-History-2-pages-of-21. The exact title is “Two Ocean History of the USS Eugene, 15 Jan. 1944 – 6 Dec. 1945”.

The Plankowners Certificate seems to be in his handwriting since he had a particular style that I recognize.

Bill Hilliard was an accomplished sailor. He and his father, Harry, sailed a New York 32 model hull sailboat named the Ragamuffin out of the Houston Yacht Club and the Texas Corinthian Yacht Club. They were in many races in Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico to Florida, Tampico MX and other ports.

My father took a number of photos of the men on the Eugene while they were in the South Pacific, which you can view below.

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USS Eugene PF-40

HTH-MedalsPF40-Recordimg-111 img-110 img-109 img-108 img-107 img-106  img-104 img-103 img-102 img-101 img-100 img-099 img-098 img-097 img-096 img-095 img-094 img-093 img-092 img-091 img-090 img-089 img-088 img-087 img-085 img-084 img-083 img-082 img-081 img-080 img-079 img-078 img-077 img-076 img-075 img-074 img-073 img-072 img-071 img-070 img-069 img-068 img-067 img-066 img-065 img-064 img-063 img-062 img-061 img-060 img-059 img-058 img-057 img-056 img-055 img-054 img-053 img-052 img-051 img-050 img-049 img-048 img-047 img-046 img-045 img-044 img-043 img-042 img-041 img-040 img-039 img-038 img-037 img-036 img-035 img-034 img-033 img-032 img-031 img-030  img-028 img-027 img-026 img-025 img-024 img-023 img-022 img-021 img-020 img-019 img-018 img-017 img-016 img-015 img-014 img-013 img-012 img-011 img-010 img-009 img-008 img-007 img-006 img-005 img-004 img-003 img-002Domain of the Golden Dragon

USS Eugene – Domain of the Golden Dragon  –  June 1944

Halmahera
Halmahera Top Secret Map – 1943