Bill was one of seven children born to a family which
farmed a quarter section of irrigated land south of town.
They grew sugar beets, corn, alfalfa and barley using
mostly horses and mules. His dad bought a tractor in 1928
but it was used only for plowing. Bill didn't have many
activities as a child, mostly farm chores. After
graduating from Ft. Collins High School in 1939, Bill
went to Colorado College of Agriculture and Mechanical
Arts to study civil engineering. He was in the student
union when the attack on Pearl Harbor was announced and
everyone got up and stood at attention.
generally stayed out of the military, their work at home
being important, but in 1943 Bill went to Ft. Sill,
Oklahoma and was commissioned a second lieutenant. He
trained in Texas and was then sent to Hawaii with the
expectation of going "down under" to
Guadalcanal. He trained as a "spotter pilot."
These pilots were to fly small, slow-moving planes over
enemy lines to direct fire from the air and later from
ships, but he was never in combat as his division
consisted of extra artillery and there was not room for
them on board ship as the divisions left Hawaii.
Just as his growing up years consisted of "work,
work, work," Bill's military experience was to
"train, train, train." He went on many field
exercises, fired lots of ammunition and kept up his
flying skills. The flying part was a pleasure. He had a
plane at his disposal and flew all around the Hawaiian
islands. The army pilots liked to pick
"dog-fights" with navy pilots, and he had a few
scares stretching his limits during these training
flights. Once he moved from being over water to land
without realizing it and put his plane into a spin down
to 500 feet altitude. Another time he flew into a cloud
and became disoriented. Without training in blind flying,
he didn't know if he was right side up or where he was
going. Finally, through a break in the clouds he saw he
was headed for the ground. He still has nightmares about
Happier memories of Hawaii are of his wife being able
to visit for two months. This, he describes, as being
"in high cotton."
When Bill returned to Ft. Collins after the war, he
finished college on the GI bill and soon had three sons.
He worked for a contractor in Wyoming for twelve years
and moved back to Ft. Collins in 1959 where he operated
heavy equipment. Nowadays he enjoys scrap-iron
construction and likes everything about Ft. Collins but