AFRH-G Resident Highlight - William F. “Bill” Wedding
By Lori Kerns | Librarian
William “Bill” Wedding was born in Cynthiana, Kentucky in 1937. Ten days after his seventeenth birthday, he joined the U.S. Air Force to get away from home. He chose that branch because he wanted to work on airplanes. Throughout his thirteen and a half year service, Bill and his wife began a family. The couple raised four children, Connie, William Jr., Marlene, and Ronald, and moved around the world to follow Bill to his duty stations.
While working as an E-5 instructor at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippu, Bill put in for the Army warrant officer program. He was selected in July 1967, while waiting for deployment to Udorn, Thailand. As an unusual start to a unique career, Bill was sworn into the Army by a Hopkins County, Kentucky judge at the courthouse. He was sent to Oklahoma for officer training school then to Fort Benning, Georgia for further assignment. His assignment was to the newly activated 59th Signal Detachment. He was to prepare them for deployment to Vietnam within the year to support the aircraft avionics of the 101st Airborne Division stationed at Camp Eagle. One of Bill’s unique and unusual military experiences began when he arrived in Vietnam at the end of 1968.
When he and his personnel arrived on 29 December, he set out to locate his unit’s equipment. Unfortunately, there was no information available on that equipment’s whereabouts. After about a week, and with no other information provided, he set out to Saigon to investigate. On 13 January he contacted a captain at HQ 1st Log Command. An equipment manifest of the ship showed that his unit’s equipment was unloaded on 16 December 1968. After personally checking the docks and storage areas, to no avail, he continued his investigation with a series of phones and personal trips to locate his missing items. Bill met with and telephoned several officers, from lieutenants, to sergeants, to majors, to find any information leading to the whereabouts of the equipment, mostly to no avail. He poked and prodded, angering some of those in charge, and took what little information he could gather to further his search each day. Finally after a month of sleuthing, Bill was able to find that much of the equipment, which included generators and air conditioning units, had been given to a unit as a favor. In an attempt to retrieve it, he had to meet with the CO, a major, of the location where the equipment was found. The major reprimanded Bill for the manner in which he tried to get his items back. Bill was abruptly dismissed. About an hour later, a captain provided Bill with two generators and one of the air conditioners and told him to check back the next day for the other air conditioning unit. Thankfully, with some proof of ownership, Bill got his other air conditioner. On 31 January 1969, Bill loaded up all the equipment he located and finally returned to his unit the next day. For Bill’s determination on locating his unit’s equipment, he was quickly awarded an Army Commendation by a two-star Army general.
Bill ended up serving seven years with the Army and retired as a W-2 Chief Warrant Officer. He dedicated twenty years total to the military. Upon leaving the military, he began a twenty-year civil service career with Mosler Safe Co. He worked until 1994 then retired to work on his farm. In 2018, Bill came to AFRH-G to tour and found that the home was “paradise on the beach.” He called admissions right away and was able to move in two months later. After just living at the Gulfport home for ten days, Bill knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life there. He went straight back home to sell his farm to return to enjoy the rest of his days in paradise at AFRH-G.