Marines lure ex-RCAF pilot (6-19-42)

The Pittsburgh Press (June 19, 1942)

Marines lure ex-RCAF pilot

Two ‘caterpillar’ stripes worn by youth

Milwaukee –
A former ferry pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force, 17-year-old Walter H. McLoon of Milwaukee, has applied for enlistment in the Marine Corps here.

McLoon, a dark-haired six-footer, had to fib about his age when he enlisted in the RCAF in May 1940. He was 16 at the time but told the Canadians that he was 20. Minimum age for the RCAF is 18.

McLoon piloted dive bombers and reconnaissance planes in the transcontinental service prior to his honorable discharge from the RCAF in April.

He wore two “caterpillar” stripes on his RCAF uniform, indicating two parachute jumps. He said that once he had to bail out when a flying school plane caught fire. Another time he jumped from 70,000 feet when a wing of the plane he was testing ripped off.

McLoon said:

Soon the whole family will be in the service.

His stepfather, Charles R. Lyon-Campbell, 42, a World War I veteran, enlisted in the Marines and will leave here soon for service as a sergeant. His mother, Vera, is a registered nurse and plans to enlist as a Navy nurse, McLoon said.

He hoped to become a pilot in the Marine Corps.


This was a very common occurrence with Americans crossing the border to join the Canadian Military and without ways of the time to check your age reliably thousands on young teenagers joined the Canadian Forces some were as young as 14 years old. Because the US was not at war until December 1941 thousands of Americans crossed the border to join the military and while thousands were turned away many thousands more were accepted.

While hundreds like Walter H. McLoon went back to serve in the US forces after discharge many who joined the Canadian Military stayed until the end of the war with many of them serving with distinction. It has been estimated that some 200,000 to 300,000 Americans served in the Canadian Army, Navy and Airforce during the war with most seeing combat and some paying the ultimate price.