Retired April 1, 1966. Died Sep. 8, 1998.
William H. Wise was born in Pontiac, Ill., in 1909. He attended Danville Military Institute, Danville, Va., and upon graduation enlisted in the Army and served three years. He then won an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy where he graduated and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in June 1934 with a bachelor of science degree in military science.
After graduation from West Point, General Wise attended flying schools at Randolph and Kelly fields in San Antonio, Texas. He received his wings in October 1935 and from this date until the beginning of World War II he served in various tactical assignments, mostly with the 8th Pursuit Group. Soon after Pearl Harbor he went to the Southwest Pacific with this organization where he served as group commander in Australia and New Guinea until March 1943. At this time he returned to the United States for duty in the Pentagon as chief of the Fighter and Air Defense Branch of the Requirements Division.
In October 1944, General Wise was assigned to the Twenty-Second Tactical Air Command in Italy, Where he served as the chief of Operational Staff until the end of the war In Europe in 1945.
During World War II, the general flew 47 combat missions for more than 88 combat hours.
General Wise returned to the United States in July 1945 and was assigned as base commander at Sarasota, Fla., until the station was closed early in 1946. He spent the next three years with the Air University, serving first as deputy commandant of the Special Staff School, then as a student at the Air War College where he graduated in 1948, and finally as deputy chief of the Evaluation Division of the Air University staff.
His next assignment was again in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., as a member of a Special Joint Planning Board for Continental United States Defense.
From May 1950 to June 1951, General Wise was deputy chief of staff for operations of the Air Task Group which participated in Project GREENHOUSE, the 1951 atomic bomb test at Eniwetok.
Upon return from Eniwetok, the general was then assigned as deputy for operations at Headquarters Western Air Defense Force, Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif. He remained there until September 1952, when he was ordered to the Northeast Command with station in Newfoundland. Here he was assigned first as deputy for operations, Headquarters Northeast Air Command, and then as commander of the 660th Wing.
In August 1955, he returned to the United States to command the 37th Air Division, Continental Air Defense Command, with headquarters at Truax Field, Madison, Wis. On April 1, 1959 he assumed command of the Chicago Air Defense Sector at Truax Field. On July 14, 1959 General Wise assumed command of the 32d Air Division with headquarters at Dobbins Air Force Base, Ga., a position he held until Aug. 1, 1961 when he was reassigned deputy chief of staff for plans and policy, NORAD.
The general's awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, World War II Victory Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Commendation Ribbon with oak leaf cluster and the Presidential Citation. He is a command pilot.