This is a chronology of Billy's postwar life as revealed in our incomplete collection of papers and letters, interspersed with major historical, cultural, and scientific events of the period. It was a time of great tension and uneasiness in the world, but also one of fabulous achievements. Links are to papers, letters, or other items related to the events in question.

Most of the non-Lewis-family events in the timeline were taken from timelines at America's Best History, which I found to be interesting and accurate.

May 7 Germany surrenders
May 25 Billy is assigned to Basic Pilot School at Moore Field, Mission, TX
July 16 First U.S. atomic bomb test; Potsdam conference (we saw where this was held on a visit in 2008)
August 6 First atomic bomb dropped, on Hiroshima
August 9 Second atomic bomb dropped, on Nagasaki
September 2 Japan surrenders
October 1 Billy earns his pilot rating at Enid, Oklahoma
November 20 Nuremberg war crimes trials begin (we saw sights in Nuremberg, including where the trials happened, in 2017)
November 20 mistaken trip to Louisville, KY
January 20 First meeting of the United Nations General Assembly
May 1 physical at Camp Shelby (de-mobilization center)
May 2 Billy files application for appointment in Air Force Reserve
May 5 66 days demobilization leave effective this date
July 4 Philippines granted independence from the U.S.
July 9 Billy receives honorable discharge; he began classes at Sul Ross College in June
April 15 Jackie Robinson makes his major league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers
June 5 Marshall Plan proposed for European war recovery
October 11 physical exam for flying at Ellington AFB, Houston, TX
February 1 Billy is assigned to reserve squadron in Bryan, TX
April 1 Soviet Union begins blockade of Berlin
July 26 President Truman signs executive order that ends segregation in the US military
November 2 Truman re-elected
February Kathleen is born in Bryan, TX
April 4 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is founded
June 27 Billy is assigned to a Reserve squadron in Houston
June 25 Korean War begins
June 27 a handful of military advisors are sent to South Vietnam to give military and economic aid to the anti-Communist government
Fall Billy is attending classes at Louisiana State University and meetings of his Reserve squadron in Baton Rouge
October 20 application for recall to active duty
December 27 memo for personnel ordered to active duty
January 26 Billy is relieved of Reserve duty and ordered to extended active duty for an indefinte period, effective February 22
February 19 assignment to a training wing at Randolph AFB, San Antonio, TX
April 21 Billy is transferred to the "academic department" at Reese AFB, Lubbock, TX
May 12 assignment to a pilot training wing in Bryan , TX
August 25 Billy begins eight weeks of courses at Craig AFB in Alabama
September Joan is born in Houston, TX
November 1 First hydrogen bomb is exploded at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific
November 4 Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected President
March 13 Billy is assigned to a new duty station at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, to await further assignment to the Northeast Air Command (NEAC)
April 25 Watson and Crick's paper describing the structure of DNA is published
May 8 Billy arrives at Pepperrell AFB, St. John's Newfoundland
May 19 assigned duty as Operations Staff Officer in the Operations Plans Division
June 8 Billy files a letter applying for release from active duty, to be started 21 months hence; pro forma?
July 27 Fighting in the Korean War ends with an armistice agreement
June 29 Billy departs from Torbay AFB for Greenland; the Mint Julep excursion
July 3 Billy returns to St. John's
August 19 The Iranian government is overthrown with CIA support in favor of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
October 8 Billy is authorized to attend a meeting at the Arctic, Desert, Tropic Info Center, in Alabama, concerning Project Mint Julep for five days
December 1 Billy is granted 30 days Christmas leave, which he will spend in Houston
December 30 First color television sets go on sale
February 23 First large-scale polio vaccinations
April 22 Beginning of McCarthy hearings about Communist influence in US government and military
May 13 temporary promotion to Major
May 17 Brown vs. Board of Education ends legality of segregation in education
June 18 Billy signs agreement to remain on active duty indefinitely
July 13 letter to LSU botany professor who offered an assistantship
September 7 Billy is authorized ten days duty in Gander, Newfoundland, to observe Operation Gold Cup
September 29 Billy is authorized ten days duty in Narsarssuak, Greenland to coordinate operational matters in connection with Project High Flight
September 30 memo suggests a reconsideration of assigning Billy to the Directorate of Operations at Air Force Headquarters; it recommends a flying unit instead
October 1 Billy is officially promoted to Major
November 9 Billy is released from NEAC and assigned to Moody AFB, Valdosta, GA, to report no later than Jan 12, 1955
January 11 medical clearance at Moody AFB
June 3 Billy completes Combat Flying School (Interceptor) Course
June 9 Billy is assigned to the 29th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Great Falls AFB, Great Falls, MT; to report no later than July 5
August 10 assigned primary duty as Operations Officer with the 29th FIS
October 19 assignment as Fighter Officer on a battle staff team with alternate 12-hour alert periods
October 25 appointment as T-33 aircraft instructor pilot
November 1 Billy is appointed to an investigative board looking into liability for a pistol at Cut Bank AFB, MT
December 1 Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama
January 6 Billy attends a Staff Officer Familiarization Course at the USAF Technical School, Keesler AFB, MS
January 26 duty for 14 days as Project Officer with the 54th FIS
February 21 Billy is assigned additional duty as in instructor in F94C aircraft
March 10 Rocketry Meet with the 29th FIS at Moody AFB, Valdosta, GA, for 16 days
May 29 Billy travels to Lowry AFB, Denver, CO, and HIll AFB, Ogden, UT for 3 days to pick up aircraft and radar equipment
June 7 assignment as Battle Team B staff member
June 12 Billy begins 16 days as advisory assistance person during Air National Guard summer encampment
June 29 Interstate Highway System comes into being
July 19 assignment as Battle Team B staff member
July 18 Billy is ordered Luke AFB and Yuma AFB, AZ, for briefings and to visit the 29th Air Division Rocketry Team, for 5 days
August 14 assigned duty as instructor pilot in L20A aircraft
October 12 appointed to an aircraft accident investigation board
October 24 Billy is given permission to operate other than government aircraft
November 6 Eisenhower is re-elected
November 21 Billy is released from duty with the 29th FIS and is assigned as an Air Advisor with the 186th FIS, Montana Air National Guard; he is order to spend 5 days Air National Guide indoctrination at the Pentagon, followed by 3 days at 4th Air Force Headquarters, Hamilton AFB, CA
December 18 Billy officially assumes duties as an Air Advisor with the MANG
January 18 appointed President of a Federal Recognition Board, first of many such appointments over the next few years
September 4 National Guard stops black students from attending school in Little Rock, Arkansas
October 4 USSR successfully launches Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite
October 11 Billy receives several appointments: as a test pilot in F89, T33 and C47 aircraft; as flight examiner; and as member of the Local Flight Clearance Authority (similar appointments occur over the next years)
October 16 Billy is appointed to the State Reserve Facilities Board for Montana (similar appointments occur over the next years)
October 32 granted aeronautical rating of senior pilot
November 27 appointment to a Flying Evaluation Board and Aeronautical Rating Board; similar appointmens over the next years
December 6 Billy is granted 20 days leave to begin on or about December 20
January 31 US launches Explorer I, its first space satellite; Explorer later discovers the Van Allen radiation belt
April 11 Billy is released for seven days to attend Air Weapons System Orientation Course At Maxwell AFB, AL
January 3 Alaska is admitted as the 49th state
April 9 NASA selects the first seven Mercury astronauts
May 27 Billy is authorized to attend MANG summer encampment as Air Adviser, at Natroma County Airport, Casper, WY
May 29 appointment as senior adviser and recorder for a 120th Fighter Group Standardization and Tactical Evaluation Board in F-89 aircraft
June Steve is born in Great Falls, MT
July 22 Billy is is authorized to participate in 29th Air Division excercise in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada
August 21 Hawaii is admitted at the 50th state
September 25 Billy completes Employment Indoctrination Course of the Warfare Systems School at Maxwell AFB, AL
October 30 appointment asPresident of the 120th Fighter Group Classification Board
February 18 another appointment as test pilot in T33 and F89 aircraft
April 6 Billy is appointed to an Aircraft Accident Innvestigation Board, to investigation an accident concerning an F89J aircraft on March 27
April 18 Billy and his co-pilot are killed when their F89 fighter crashes upon takeoff from Great Falls Airport, MANG Headquarters
August article Billy wrote the day before his death, on a new maintenance control system, appears in an issue of a "Communications and Electronics Digest" newsletter
November 8 John F. Kennedy elected President
November 11 letter from Billy's friend Henry Maine gives information and his impressions from the crash site