Corporal Vollie C. Hudson (1920–1945)

Corporal Vollie C. Hudson in 1943 or 1944 (Courtesy of Janet and Larry Whitten)
HometownCivilian Occupation
Selbyville, DelawareTruck driver for the Selbyville Manufacturing Company
BranchService Number
U.S. Army Air Forces32265479
American (Zone of Interior)587th Air Engineering Squadron, 75th Air Service Group

Early Life & Family

Vollie Chester Hudson was born in Selbyville, Delaware, on January 17, 1920. He was the son of Amos Henry Hudson, Jr. (then a farmer and later a member of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1894–1978) and Viola Edna Hudson (1898–1951). He had an older brother, Preston A. Hudson (who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, 1917–1978), and an older sister, Mildred Anne Hudson (later Hickman and eventually Quillen, 1918–1985). The census recorded Hudson’s parents living in Selbyville shortly before his birth (although curiously enough, not his older brother and sister).

Vollie Hudson’s father, Amos, c.1938 as a surfman at the North Beach Lifeboat Station, located on Assateague Island, Maryland (Courtesy of Janet and Larry Whitten)

On the next census, taken in May 1930, the Hudson family was recorded living on Grays Neck Road in Sussex County, Delaware. It is unclear where this road was located beyond that it was in the 7th Representative District in unincorporated southeastern Sussex County.

Hudson was recorded on the census on April 26, 1940, living with his sister, Mildred, and brother-in-law, Elbert D. Hickman (1917–1957), at their home on Road 382 in Sussex County, Delaware. Comparing the 1940 census enumeration map to modern maps indicates that Road 382 describes what are now known as Pyle Center and Zion Church Roads in Roxana, Delaware.

The 1940 census described Hudson as a helper for a truck company. The record stated he had completed the 8th grade. On the other hand, his enlistment data card stated that Hudson had completed one year of high school.

When he registered for the draft on July 1, 1941, Hudson was working as a truck driver for the Selbyville Manufacturing Company. The registrar described him as standing five feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 145 lbs., with black hair and hazel eyes.

Military Career

Hudson was drafted. He joined the U.S. Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on April 15, 1942, and was assigned to the Army Air Forces. In a statement for the State of Delaware Public Archives Commission, Hudson’s mother provided a detailed list of where her son was stationed:

  • Brooks Field, Texas (April 22, 1942 – December 28, 1942)
  • Galena, Washington (December 28, 1942 – April 20, 1943)
  • Geiger Field, Washington (April 20, 1943 – June 16, 1943)
  • Moses Lake, Washington (June 16, 1943 – December 28, 1943)
  • Pendleton Field, Oregon (December 28, 1943 – February 2, 1944)
  • Tinker Field, Oklahoma (February 2, 1944 – April 10, 1944)
  • Great Bend, Kansas (April 10, 1944 – June 13, 1944)
  • Robins Field, Georgia (June 13, 1944 – September 7, 1944)
  • Camp Mackall, North Carolina (September 7, 1944 – September 29, 1944)
  • Herbert Smart Airport, Georgia (September 29, 1944 – November 11, 1944)
  • Tinker Field, Oklahoma (November 11, 1944 – December 5, 1944)
  • Walker Field, Kansas (December 5, 1944 – end of career)
Vollie Hudson (Courtesy of Janet and Larry Whitten)

A summary of Hudson’s career, provided by his last commanding officer, Captain William L. Wood, Jr., overlaps with Hudson’s mother’s statement in some areas but diverges in others:

After being processed [at Fort Dix,] he was sent to the 53d Air Base Squadron, Brooks Field, Texas, where he performed squadron duties and took his basic training.  On the 5th day of June in the year 1942 he was transferred to the Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron, 63rd Service Group at Brooks Field, Texas and Galena, Washington.  Here he was a truck driver and a general painter.  Upon being transferred from this organization he received his first EXCELLENT – EXCELLENT rating.  Each rating thereafter for his entire Army Career was Character “Excellent” – Efficiency Rating “Excellent”.

Hudson c. 1942 (Courtesy of the Delaware Public Archives)
Vollie C. Hudson, probably in 1942 or 1943 (Courtesy of Janet and Larry Whitten)

Wood continued that on February 28, 1943, Private Hudson “was transferred to the 473rd Service Group, Geiger Field, Washington.  Here he performed duties as a General Painter.”

Hudson was promoted to private 1st class on May 1, 1943. Wood added:

When the 473rd Service Squadron moved to Moses Lake Army Air Field, Washington he became an A.A.F. Painter and received his promotion to Corporal.  On the 30th of December 1943 he was transferred to the 11th Service Group, Tinker Field, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  He was further assigned to the 467th Service Squadron of that same Group.  At this time he was assigned as an A.A.F. Painter.  Upon being transferred to the 4503rd AAF Base Unit at Tinker Field, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma he became a Paint, Dope and Fabric Worker.  On the 31st of May 1944 Corporal Vollie C. Hudson was transferred to the 75th Air Service Group and was immediately assigned to the 587th Air Engineering Squadron where he took charge of the Paint, Dope and Fabric Shop as Section Chief.

According to a unit history, the 75th Service Group (also known as the 75th Air Service Group) was activated at Robins Field, Georgia, in May 1944, and “comprising squadrons were designated as Headquarters and Base Service Squadron, 581st Material Squadron, and the 587th Engineering Squadron.” The history stated:

With an original mission of supplying third echelon maintenance and supply for B-29 aircraft, the 587th Engineering Squadron was provided a unique opportunity for on-the-job training when it was learned that one of the new aircraft had crashed at the Atlanta Army Air Base.

          Captain William L. Wood, Jr., Commanding Officer of the Squadron, dispatched approximately 50 enlisted men under the supervision of CWO Clyde Doyell to the Atlanta Base in order to dismantle and salvage the plane. […]

          The salvage job afforded opportunity for mechanics, radio and supply men from the Engineering Squadron to learn from practical experience what their jobs would be in the war theaters.

Men from Hudson’s unit salvaging at B-29 after a crash in Atlanta, Georgia (“Historical Record of the 75th Service Group,” courtesy of the Air Force Historical Research Agency)

The group went on a field exercise to Macon, Georgia, on August 21–24, 1944. Due to overcrowding at Robins Field, the 75th moved to Herbert Smart Airport in Macon on September 7, 1944. Facilities there were limited, with “few aircraft on which to work.” However, the airport did have a bowling alley, a theater, library, recreation room, beer parlor, and a Coca Cola machine. On September 25, members of the group held a performance entitled the “75th ‘Achin’ In Macon’ Variety Show.”

Hudson in a photograph dated June 12, 1944 (Courtesy of Janet and Larry Whitten)
Corporal Hudson (wearing sunglasses) with three comrades c. 1944 (Courtesy of Janet and Larry Whitten)

Corporal Hudson was awarded the Good Conduct Medal on October 16, 1944. An unusual training opportunity presented itself to the group two days later when 131 U.S. Navy aircraft evacuating from the 1944 Cuba–Florida hurricane arrived at Herbert Smart.

On November 5, 1944, the 75th departed Georgia by train, arriving two days later at Tinker Field, Oklahoma. The unit history reported that “the facilities of Oklahoma City Air Service Command at Tinker Field did provide for men of the Material and Engineering squadrons to gain valuable knowledge in actual flight line work and in the various categories of Supply.”

They were not there long before departing by truck on the night of December 4, 1944, arriving one day later at Walker Army Air Field, Kansas. The weather soon turned bad, and the group found their clothing and equipment inadequate for winter maintenance on the flight line. Then, on January 31, 1945, much of the group’s equipment was destroyed in a fire.

Despite the setbacks, on January 25–26, 1945, the 75th Air Service Group passed its preparation for overseas movement inspection. The unit history reported that February 1945 was

a month of furloughs and leaves for us.  Having successfully passed our POM inspection, the Group Commander decided to let most of the men go on an additional furlough.  In this manner, every man has now had a furlough within the past six months.

Ironically, this opportunity proved tragic for Corporal Hudson. On the evening of February 15, 1945, Hudson suffered a fatal head injury in a motor vehicle collision on DuPont Highway near his hometown. Journal-Every Evening reported that Hudson

crashed into the rear of a bus on Route 113 one and one-tenth miles north of Selbyville.

          Troopers who are investigating said the bus, operated by Alphonsus Stevenson, 26, of Philadelphia, either had stopped or was going slowly north on the highway when Hudson’s car struck it. Hudson was instantly killed.

Another article published in The Delmarva News provided further detail:

Cpl. Hudson drove his car into the rear of a bus driven by Alphonso Stevenson, colored, Philadelphia. The bus was carrying a colored orchestra from Wilmington, N. C., to Rosedale Beach.

At a coroners inquest, conducted by Sussex County Coroner, William I. Conaway, it was determined that the bus was moving and lighted. Stevenson, the driver of the bus testified that he was traveling at a speed between 15 and 25 miles per hour.

Hudson’s car slid under the right rear of the bus.

Following services at Pilgrim Holiness Church in Roxana on February 25, 1945, Corporal Hudson was buried in Bishopville Cemetery in Maryland. His parents were also buried there after their deaths.

Captain Wood wrote of Corporal Hudson:

He had many traits which are desirable and admirable in a solder:  he was a conscientious hard worker, a leader and well disciplined in service to his country.  Beside this he possessed many traits of character which were complimentary to him as a man;  quiet, unassuming, friendly, honest, trustworthy, courteous, cheerful, yet with a serious purpose in mind. […]

          Probably the highest commendation I could possibly make upon the life of the late Vollie C. Hudson is that he lived it in such a way as to be a guide and an inspiration for those of us who knew and worked beside him.  His loss to us is a grave one, and his position and place in our squadron will be a difficult one to refill.

That spring, the 75th would ship out from the Seattle Port of Embarkation for the Pacific, where it would be assigned to the 315th Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy), XXI Bomber Command, Twentieth Air Force in the Mariana Islands.

First page of a photostat of a letter summarizing Hudson’s military career (Courtesy of the Delaware Public Archives)
Second page of a photostat of a letter summarizing Hudson’s military career (Courtesy of the Delaware Public Archives)


1930 Census

The Hudson family’s 1930 census record listed a nine-year-old daughter named Mollie C. Hudson. Since there is no other trace of this child, it appears that the census enumerator misunderstood Vollie’s unusual name and recorded him as a girl.


Special thanks to Corporal Hudson’s niece, Janet Hudson Whitten, her husband, Larry Whitten, and to the Delaware Public Archives, for the use of their photos and documents.


“Autoist Killed as Car Crashes Rear of Bus.” Journal-Every Evening, February 16, 1945.

“CPL Vollie Chester Hudson.” Find a Grave.

Delaware Death Records. Bureau of Vital Statistics, Hall of Records, Dover, Delaware.

Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Record Group 29, Records of the Bureau of the Census. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. Record Group 29, Records of the Bureau of the Census. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

Hudson, Viola E. Vollie Chester Hudson Individual Military Service Record, c. 1946. Record Group 1325-003-053, Record of Delawareans Who Died in World War II.  Delaware Public Archives, Dover, Delaware.

“Historical Record of the 75th Service Group.” Reel B0828. Courtesy of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

“Mildred Anne Hudson Hickman.” Find a Grave.

“Narrative History Documents of 75th Air Service Group. Period: 6 April to 31 May 1945.” Reel B0828. Courtesy of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Record Group 29, Records of the Bureau of the Census. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

“Vollie C. Hudson Killed In Accident.” The Delmarva News, unknown date, February 1945.

Wood, William L., Jr. “Army Career of Vollie C. Hudson.” February 22, 1945. Record Group 1325-003-053, Record of Delawareans Who Died in World War II.  Delaware Public Archives, Dover, Delaware.

Wood, William L., Jr. Letter to Viola Hudson, February 19, 1945. Record Group 1325-003-053, Record of Delawareans Who Died in World War II.  Delaware Public Archives, Dover, Delaware.

World War II Army Enlistment Records. Record Group 64, Records of the National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

WWII Draft Registration Cards for Delaware, 10/16/1940–3/31/1947. Record Group 147, Records of the Selective Service System. National Archives at St. Louis, Missouri.

Last updated on January 31, 2023

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