Billy Wayne Batson
Colonel, USAF (Ret.)
May 16, 1934-February 23, 2020
Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas and grew up in Fayetteville. Received a Bachelorís degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas and a Master of Business Administration from Inter-American University of Puerto Rico while a Captain and pilot in the United States Air Force. Joined the Air Force in May 1956 and served 24 years, logging thousands of hours of flying time from 1956-1969, primarily in large KC-97 and KC-135 tanker aircraft and was also a staff pilot for the FB-111 fighter/bomber. Designations included Aircraft Commander, Instructor Pilot, and Standardization Evaluator. Flew over 1,000 hours of Vietnam combat and combat support missions over two, six-month tours in Southeast Asia, earning him an Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Forceís highest commendation. From 1969 to early 1970, he attended the Armed Service Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, where was a distinguished graduate. Following this was a return to the Vietnam war for a thirteen month tour, this time on the ground as an internal investigator for MACV-IG, the military Inspector Generalís office, managing multiple investigations involving war crimes, mistreatment of prisoners, unauthorized use of Agent Orange and black market/money scams within the Armed Forces. Following this tour, he became Chief of the Aircraft Future Concepts division at Strategic Air Command HQ, Offutt Air Force Base, Bellevue, Nebraska. He led a team of officers that updated, employed and coordinated strategic operational concepts for air, missile and satellite technologies. These advanced concepts continue to be integral to current military planning for coordinated development of air power resources and force structures. Following his first assignment at SAC headquarters, he returned to the classroom and advanced training as a distinguished graduate of the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama. Transferred to Plattsburgh AFB from 1976 to 1979 as commander of the 380th Air refueling squadron, managing all ground and combat operations and winning awards for highest combat proficiency and bombing proficiency. In 1977, promoted to commander of the entire 380th Bombardment Wing. In 1980, a return to Offutt at as Senior Controller of the underground command post at SAC HQ, managing daily operations, coordinating air and missile forces and monitoring global movement of SAC aircraft. His final post before retiring from the USAF, was as SACís Worldwide Air Refueling Director, managing a budget of 30 billion dollars, and directed the coordination, planning and scheduling of Air Force, Navy and allied tanker support. He was deeply involved in the Iran hostage rescue mission and is mentioned for his contribution to the effort in the book ďThe Guts to TryĒ. After retiring from the Air Force, he took a job with Logicon, a developer of missile guidance systems, to run their Omaha/SAC office and later moved to Washington, D.C. as the companyís Director of Marketing. Billy and his wife, Susie, retired to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, owning both Red Bud Manor, a bed and breakfast, and Susieís Bodacious Bungalow. He was a huge Arkansas Razorback fan, avid golfer, some of his most cherished times were tailgating at football games in the fall with the many cherished friends he made when he retired. He was active in community affairs and served several terms as the Commissioner of the Carroll County, Arkansas Airport Authority, was president of the Eureka Little Theatre Company, served on the boards of the Dairy Hollow Writerís Colony, Habitat for Humanity where he painted numerous homes, and was active in the Rotary Club, Elks Club and the VFW.
He was also a long-time board and founding member of Community First Bank in Eureka Springs, now Equity Bank.
He is survived by his sons Joe D Batson and wife Kim of Jenks, Oklahoma and Michael A Batson and wife Kathy of Lincoln, Nebraska; five grandchildren Casey, Colin, Blair, Ambra and Tasha; four great grandchildren Cale, Emma, Charlotte and Violet; two nieces and one nephew; many other relatives and friends.
He is preceded in death by his wife Lena Sue Batson and his parents Joseph and Beulah Batson.
Services will be held 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at the First United Methodist Church in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Pastor John Gibson officiating. Visitation will be 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at Nelsonís Chapel of the Springs in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Interment at the Arlington Cemetery, the date yet to be determined. Memorial donations may be made to Dairy Hollow Writers Colony of Eureka Springs, 515 Spring St, Eureka Springs, AR 72632 or Alzheimerís Arkansas, 200 Markham Center Dr, Little Rock, AR 72205, alzark.org. Arrangements are under the direction of Nelson Funeral Service. Online condolences may be sent to the family at nelsonfuneral.com.