Raymond C. Waeyaert

1924 - 2012

Air Force

Their Story

Raymond C. Waeyaert was born on March 13, 1924, to Maurice and Grace Dankaert Waeyaert in his grandmother’s home in Moline, Illinois. Waeyaert attended elementary school at Sacred Heart School in Moline, and later graduated from St. Joseph High School in Rock Island in 1942.[1] He worked for a short time at the International Harvester company in East Moline, but quickly joined the US Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program. After two years of intense training, Waeyaert graduated with his commission and pilot’s wings at Stockton Field, California on April 15th, 1944.[2]

Though short, Raymond C. Waeyaert’s service in World War II was action-packed and fraught with peril. Waeyaert first flew missions in China, where he assisted the legendary Flying Tigers and helped save Chinese civilians from the Japanese Army in Kweilin:

His first assignment was flying ‘the Hump’ mountains between China and India. He spent one year flying gas and supplies for the Flying Tigers in China often under the most severe weather conditions. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with clusters. He also received commendation from the Chinese Government for the evacuation of Kwilin China when the Japanese army was invading the city. He flew one of the five planes the U.S. ordered to fly the Chinese people out. For five days and nights they flew people out of harm’s way.[3]

After the evacuation at Kweilin, Waeyaert was shipped to the United States where he served as a medevac pilot, which tasked him with flying wounded Armed Forces personnel to various hospitals around America.[4] Three months after the war’s end, Waeyaert filed his discharge and returned to his native Illinois.[5]

This was far from the end of Waeyaert’s Air Force career. In 1949, Waeyaert organized the first ever Air Force Reserve Unit of the Quad Cities, composed of former active-duty Air Force men like himself. This would grow to become the modern-day Air Force Reserve Unit 9501st at the Quad Cities Airport. As the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs was under construction around 1954, the Air Force reached out to Waeyaert to be a liaison officer to assist young men in their admission to the academy.[6] As part of this assignment, Waeyaert established a program featuring current Academy cadets every December to inform potential recruits of Academy life.[7] He fully retired from the Air Force fifteen years later as a Lieutenant Colonel.[8]

Raymond Waeyaert spent the rest of his life enjoying friendship and family life in the Quad Cities. He made many friends as a salesman with Quad City Food Service over twenty-two years of work. He enjoyed traveling with his wife Eleanor, landscaping, and spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was involved with the Air Force Association, American Legion, the Center for Belgian Culture, and Christ the King Church in Moline. Raymond C. Waeyaert passed away on May 28th, 2012, at Amber Ridge Memory Care in Moline.[9] He leaves behind the legacy of a daring pilot, and an elder Air Force statesman for the next generation of pilots who succeeded him.


[1] “Raymond Waeyaert,” The Dispatch, May 30, 2012, p. 7,

[2] “Receive Wings,” The Rock Island Argus, April 20, 1944, p. 16, “Raymond Waeyaert,” The Dispatch, May 30, 2012, p. 7,

[3] “Raymond Waeyaert,” The Dispatch, May 30, 2012, p. 7,

[4] “Raymond Waeyaert,” The Dispatch, May 30, 2012, p. 7,

[5] “62 More Veterans Record Discharges,” The Daily Times, December 27, 1945, p. 21,

[6] “Raymond Waeyaert,” The Dispatch, May 30, 2012, p. 7,

[7] “Program on Air Force Academy Set,” The Rock Island Argus, December 28, 1965, p. 8,

[8]  “Raymond Waeyaert,” The Dispatch, May 30, 2012, p. 7,

[9] “Raymond Waeyaert,” The Dispatch, May 30, 2012, p. 7,