Died May 5, 1981.
William Preston Nuckols was born in Atlantic City, N.J., on April 13, 1905. After attending Swarthmore College and the University of Virginia Law School, he became a member of the editorial staff of newspapers in Richmond, Va.; Atlantic City, N.J., and Miami, Fla.
Entering the Air Corps as a flying cadet in June 1931, General Nuckols graduated from flying School in June 1932, was rated a pilot and commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve. He was assigned to France Field, Panama Canal Zone, where he served as a pilot and as public relations officer of a bombardment squadron.
Leaving the service in June 1934, the general was then engaged in public relations work in New York City until March 1938 when he was recalled to active duty with the Air Corps and assigned to Randolph Field, Texas. There he conducted a public relations program for aviation cadet procurement from 1938 to 1942. In December 1942 he was assigned as deputy director of the War Department Bureau of Public Relations for Air.
General Nuckols was transferred to the European Theater of operations in September 1943 as a member of the Plans Division of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force. AEAF coordinated the air effort in connection with the Normandy invasion. Immediately prior to the invasion, General Nuckols was named chief of the Information Division of AEAF, and also air member of the SHAPE public relations staff. In September 1944 he was appointed public relations officer for the Ninth Air Force in the European Theater.
Returning to the United States in August 1945, the general became director of the Air Forces School of Public Relations at Orlando, Fla. In November 1946 he was named chief of the Public Relations Division of the Air University at Maxwell Field, Ala., and in July 1947 assumed additional duty as public relations instructor at the Air Command and Staff School there.
Going to Air Force headquarters, Washington, D.C. in September 1947, General Nuckols was appointed deputy director of the Air Information Division, Directorate of Public Relations, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, becoming director of that division in January 1948 and in February 1949 was named special assistant to the director of public relations. In August 1949 he entered the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, and upon graduation in July 1950 was appointed public information officer for the Far East Air Force at Tokyo, Japan.
Soon after the military armistice conferences began in July 1951 in Kaesong, Korea, General Nuckols was appointed by General Matthew B. Ridgeway as director of information, United Nations Command (Advance) in Korea. He served in that capacity until September of that year when he was designated to attend the Japanese Peace Treaty Signing conference in San Francisco as a special adviser to the United States Delegation. Following the signing of the treaty, he returned to Tokyo on Sept. 12, 1951 to resume his duties as public information officer for the Far East Air Forces.
In January 1953 General Nuckols was named chief of the Public Information Division, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers in Europe, with station at Paris, France.
Returning to the United States, the general joined the Air Defense Command on Aug. 1, 1954 and assumed command of the 33rd Air Division (Defense) at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Okla., with additional duty on Jan. 15, 1957 as commander, 33rd Continental Air Defense Division, also at Tinker.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal. He is rated a command pilot.