World War II veteran ‘Wild Bill’ turns 100 |

World War II veteran ‘Wild Bill’ turns 100

Grass Valley World War II veteran William “Wild Bill” Figara turned 100 years old Friday.

Figara celebrated becoming a centenarian surrounded by his family and friends with a party at Kane’s Restaurant in downtown Grass Valley.

Figara was born in Oakland and grew up in the East Bay during the 1920s and ’30s before joining the Civilian Conservation Corps where he fought forest fires and helped build the Shasta Dam.

Figara was preparing to become a forest ranger when the bombing of Pearl Harbor occurred Dec. 7, 1941. Figara then joined the Army Air Corps, training in Maria, Texas, before flying his C-46 combat cargo carrier in different theaters of the war.

One of Figara’s most noted accomplishments as a WWII pilot included flying more than 300 missions delivering cargo from India to the war efforts in China.

During Friday’s birthday party some of Figara’s lesser-known memories were revealed by members of his friends and family during many toasts held in his honor.

After the toasts, Figara thanked everyone for being there and for his family members giving him a full and enriched life.

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