Lexingtonians Who Served – James Silva & William J. Wiles

By E. Ashley Rooney

James Silva


James Silva, 1942 LHS, was a P-51 fighter plane pilot, a member of the 160th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 9th Air Force. He was shot down by the Germans on Sept. 19, 1944, bailed out and was captured by the Germans. He was a POW in St. Nazaire, France, for 2 ½ months, during which time he was the Sr. American officer of a small group of 19 American soldiers. He is now a resident of Brooksby Village.








In WW II, William J. Wiles fought at the Battle of the Bulge and served as a “Railsplitter” in the United States Army in Europe. The  “Railsplitter” division landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy in early November 1944, five months after D-Day (June 6, 1944). From France, the unit moved quickly into the Netherlands in preparation for an offensive into Nazi Germany. Bill received the Bronze Star.

In the photo left, Wiles is third from the right in this picture with Russian soldiers. He moved to Lexington in 1955. He is interred in Westview Cemetery.

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