Capt. Jack Williams was born in Muskegon, Mich. He served as a B-17 pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. His plane was hit by flak on his 28th mission and he crash-landed in a French farm field. While the rest of his crew waited to be captured by the Germans, Jack and his navigator left the scene of the crash and evaded capture for nine months. They eventually walked through the Pyrenees into Spain where they were arrested by Spanish police and put into jail. After two weeks, the British Consulate in Lisbon arranged for their release and Jack and the navigator were transported to Lisbon and then London.
The two airmen were then returned to the U.S. where they wrote a manual on evasion and escape . They spent several months giving lectures to airmen about evasion and escape. Jack remained in the Air Force after the war and flew in the Berlin Airlift.