Bill Behrns began life, in 1920, as a three-month premature baby, weighing barely three pounds. Behrns grew slowly, but size had no bearing on his ability to play ball and outrun the other kids. By the age of six, Bill Behrns was driving a team of mules and soon after, one of their farm tractors. He received his driver's license at the age of 14.
After high school, Bill spent three years in college. Prior to completing his degree, he landed a lucrative sales position with Standard Oil, and after 15 months, he transferred to management in a federal government job at Benecia Arsenal.
During this time, Behrns' buddies took him to an air show to watch America's two premier pilots, Roscoe Turner and Tex Rankin. The excitement consumed him, and Behrns decided then he would become a pilot and fly P-38s. He was drafted in December of 1941. Through ingenuity and risk-taking, Behrns seized an opportunity to take the Air Corps flight exam and passed. He excelled in flight school and in June 1943, graduated as a commissioned officer and pilot of P-38s. Bill Behrns had realized his dream. Eventually, he was sent to active-duty in the CBI (China, Burma, India) Theater of War, as a member of the 459th Fighter Squadron. Behrns flew 104 combat missions with the 459th. He shot down five Japanese Fighters in the air and destroyed six on the ground. After 13 months with the 459th, Bill was invited to be a part of a newly formed squadron, the 58th Fighter Squadron 33rd Fighter Group. Behrns transferred as a transitional training officer for new pilots. Because the Japanese had withdrawn all of their planes but left their armies, the squadron's mission was then to soften up enemy armies and enable allied armies to overcome their threat. Behrns' last mission was April 14, 1945. After a month of leave, he was sent on a new assignment to fly P-80 Shooting Stars.
Bill Behrns left the service in August, 1945, to establish a livestock trucking company. After 13 years of decent pay but small interest on his investment, he sold his company in favor of joining a partner in a retail store.
After 12 years, he sold his interest in the store and joined Boise Cascade as a manager in land development and sales. Six years later, he chose a new opportunity in management with Bankers Life Insurance Co., and after five years, he developed his own company. Behrns retired at age sixty-seven.
Bill Behrns holds the American Defense Medal, the C.B.I. Combat Medal, and the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters. He also holds the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Unit Presidential Citation, and the Good Conduct Medal.
In later years, Behrns has given more than 60 lectures to schools, businesses, and airports. He has also been invited to participate in air shows from Pennsylvania to Oshkosh and points beyond. In good health at the age of 91, Bill Behrns is still on the move.
Author Kenneth S. Moore was born and raised in Santa Maria, California. All members of Ken Moore's family were involved in education. Moore's father was a principal and superintendent, and his mother and sister were both elementary school teachers. So of course Ken Moore became a teacher as well. After graduating from Sacramento State with a master's degree in history, Moore spent the next twenty-five years teaching a variety of subjects at the junior high school level, but Moore enjoyed teaching history the most.
Ken Moore was a man of many interests, including racing Porsches and excelling in golf. After retiring from teaching in 2001, he continued working with young people as a founder and coach with the Stockton Junior Scholastic Trap Association. Hunting waterfowl, deer, and game took him to Mexico, Argentina, and Africa.
Ken Moore was an avid reader, amassing a wealth of knowledge about the Civil War and World War II. His interest in combat aircraft and World War II led him to two groups in Sacramento, California, where former pilots from World War II met monthly. It was at these meetings that Moore met Bill Behrns, a P-38 pilot and World War II Ace. After several years of gentle coaxing he talked Bill Behrns into letting him write about Behrns' experiences, which became the book, The San Joaquin Siren.
The San Joaquin Siren was almost completed when Ken passed away unexpectedly in May 2011. Ken's wife of 40 years, Tina, graciously and proudly brought together and finished The San Joaquin Siren for him. The night before Ken passed away, he received notice from Amethyst Moon Publishing that they would be honored to publish The San Joaquin Siren. Writing a book and getting published were Ken Moore's lifelong dreams.
with Kenneth Moore
This book is available for purchase at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, iTunes, and/or your local bookstore.