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Obituary: William D. Murchie, Franklin

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William D. Murchie

Col. William D. Murchie was commander of the 930th Special Operations Group, one of four units that make up the 434th Special Operations Wings (Reserve) at Grissom Air Force Base.

Col. Murchie passed away Monday, July 8, 2013, in Franklin.

Born in Indianapolis on Jan. 1, 1923, Col. Murchie was a business administration graduate from Indiana University. Soon after graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve Corps on Jan. 29, 1942, and he reported to the officers candidate school in Fort Benning, Ga., in January 1943, and subsequently was commissioned a second lieutenant on April 9, 1943. Transferring to the U.S. Army Air Corps, he completed basic and advance flying in January 1944.

Col. Murchie was assigned to multiengine aircraft and flew

B-24s at Smyrna Army Air Field until February 1945, when he transitioned into B-29 aircraft at Maxwell Army Air Field. His World War II active duty ended on March 20, 1946.

His Air Force Reserve career began immediately with the 80th Troop Carrier Squadron in Bloomington, as operations officer. In July 1949, he transferred to the reactivated 434th Troop Carrier Wing (Reserve) at Bakalar Air Force Base as an instructor pilot in the 72nd Troop Carrier Squadron.

Called to extended active duty on May 1, 1951, Col. Murchie served with the 315th Troop Carrier Wing, Brady Air Force Base, Japan, from Dec. 23, 1951, until Jan. 23, 1954. During this period, he flew 20 C-46 resupply missions, logging 102 combat hours over Korea.

Released from active duty in February 1954, he served as operations and training officer with the 8634th Pilot Training Squadron at Bakalar Air Force Base until February 1957, when he was named commander of the 72nd Troop Carrier Squadron. During this period, the unit converted from C-46 to C-119G aircraft.

In 1963, he was named director of operations of the 931st Troops Carrier Group, which established a record in 12th Air Force as the only unit to pass an operational readiness inspection three consecutive years without an unsatisfactory or marginal rating in any major function. During this same period the group was selected by Continental Air Command to develop the Off-Set-In-Trail System of aerial delivery for the C-119G aircraft. The system has now been adopted for all C-119G units.

The group’s mission was changed from airlift to tactical air support by mid-1969. The group flew the U-3 aircraft for training until 0-2 aircraft became available. The mission of the 931st Tactical Air Support Group was changed in March 1971, and Col. Murchie was selected to command the first A-37A Air Force Reserve Fighter Group and subsequently the first A-37B Group at Grissom Air Force Base. The group has been assigned to Special Operations Forces.

Col. Murchie was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, for “outstanding achievement rendered in behalf of the Air Force,” for his service as director of operations. When named commander of the 931st Tactical Airlift Group on July 1, 1967, he had logged more than 6,000 flying hours. He served in that capacity until the unit moved to Grissom Air Force Base. Then in March 1971 he was named commander of the 930th Special Operations Group.

Other military decorations awarded Col. Murchie are the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and six service medals.

His civilian occupation was director of the Bureau of Special Institutions at the Indiana State Board of Health. He also served as senior vice president of the Indiana Department of Reserve Officers Association of the United States.

Col. Murchie is survived by his son, William M. Murchie; daughters, Sue Ann Bradford, Frances J. Lecain and Bonnie Lee Koch; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara H. Murchie.

The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Friday in Kresge Chapel at the Indiana Masonic Home, 690 S. State St., Franklin, with calling one hour prior to the service. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.

Those who wish to express condolences to the family or sign the guest registry may do so by visiting www.flannerbuchanan.com.

Flanner and Buchanan-Carmel is handling arrangements.

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