Retired Dec. 31, 1960. Died Feb. 22, 1985.
William E. Rentz was born in Newport, Ky., in 1905. He graduated from Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and received a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Kentucky where he was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. In civilian life, General Rentz was engaged in sales work with the Globe-Wernicke Company in Cincinnati, Ohio.
General Rentz was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry Reserve on May 23, 1928. During the 13 years following he served various periods of active duty including two years with the Civilian Conservation Corps at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind.
On July 7, 1941, General Rentz was called to extended active duty as a first lieutenant and assigned as secretary of the Technical School at Chanute, Field, Ill. He was later assigned to Keesler and Gulfport fields Miss., and in January 1944 he was transferred to Amarillo Army Air Field, Texas where he was named Director of Training of the B-29 Technical School. By this time he had advanced to the grade of lieutenant colonel in December 1944 he became Colonel Rentz. In January 1946, he was designated deputy chief of staff for operations at Headquarters Air Technical Training Command at Scott Field, Ill. Awards of the Legion of Merit and the Commendation Ribbon were made for outstanding service rendered while assigned to Amarillo and Scott fields respectively.
In August 1946 General Rentz was transferred to China where during his first year he was in charge of Technical Training for the Chinese air force and commander of U.S. Air Forces in Western China located near the Tibetan border. He moved to Nanking, China in May 1947. There he became chief adviser to the Chinese Nationalist Air Force on all air force training. With the approach of Chinese Communist forces toward Nanking in November 1948, General Rentz's family was evacuated from China. General Rentz, however, remained in China to assist with the evacuation until January 1949. For his assistance to the cause of the Nationalist Chinese, General Rentz was awarded the Cloud and Banner decoration and the Chinese Air Force Mao Chi Medal.
In March 1949, he was assigned to Air Force headquarters as chief of the Technical Training Branch of the Office of Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations. He was appointed chief of staff of the Technical Training Air Force at Gulfport, Miss., in August 1951 and was instrumental in establishing this headquarters. He was promoted to brigadier general in October 1952. He became director of real property, assistant chief of staff, installations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force in October 1955 and deputy director of installations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force in July 1957. While assigned to the Directorate of Installations, General Rentz frequently appeared before congressional committees to represent the Air Force Military Construction Program. For his performance in this important capacity, he has been praised both publicly and privately by various members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Sports: General Rentz participated in track and basketball while in school. He is now, to use his own words "an average golfer with average scores."
General Rentz is a member of the University of Kentucky Alumni Association. He was also a member of Sigma Nu social fraternity at the University of Kentucky.