- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2006

Louis Wimsatt, 83, WWII, airline pilot

Louis Johnson Wimsatt, former World War II and commercial pilot, died Jan. 1 after suffering a stroke at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the District. He was 83.

Born May 13, 1922, Mr. Wimsatt graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School in 1939 and attended Georgetown University for three years before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1942 as a pilot.

In June 1944, Mr. Wimsatt was assigned to the 506th Bomb Squadron of the 44th Bomb Group, where he piloted a B-24 Liberator called “Down De Hatch” on 35 missions over German-occupied continental Europe.

After completing his combat tour, he stayed on in England as a Group Air/Sea Rescue officer and flew missions in support of ground troops during the Battle of the Bulge.

During one mission, Mr. Wimsatt and his crew downed a Messerschmidt 262, the war’s only jet fighter and Hitler’s pride and joy.

On another mission, Mr. Wimsatt’s plane had to set down near Reims, France, to make repairs. He and his crew used their emergency money to fill the plane with cases of champagne, perhaps accounting for the plane’s suspenseful trip back to England.

Mr. Wimsatt was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, as well as associated campaign ribbons.

After the war, Mr. Wimsatt was a pilot for Capital Airlines for several years and later became part owner of the Johnson & Wimsatt Lumber Co., until he sold out to his brother in the mid-1950s.

Mr. Wimsatt was an athletic youth and a nationally ranked tennis player who moved on to other endeavors after losing to a much younger Bob Falkenburg, who eventually became the 1948 Wimbledon Men’s Singles Champion.

He was a scratch golfer as a young man and maintained his zest for the game as he grew older.

In addition, he loved to visit friends at an American Legion hall and at just about every diner in the Gaithersburg area. He affectionately became known as the unofficial mayor of Gaithersburg.

Mr. Wimsatt and his wife raised their nine children, first in Chevy Chase, then in Derwood.

Mr. Wimsatt is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sara Mildred of Derwood; sons William, Matthew and Michael Wimsatt of Derwood, Louis Wimsatt Jr. of Charlottesville, John Wimsatt of the District, Mark Wimsatt of Rockville, David Wimsatt of Silver Spring, and Thomas Wimsatt of Westminster, Md.; daughter Caroline Scott of McLean, 19 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

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