My military career began in July 1963, when I enlisted in the US Army, attended basic Infantry training at Ft. Polk, LA. and advanced individual training, field artillery, at Ft. Sill, OK. In October 1964, I entered the US Army Field Artillery Officer Candidate School at Ft. Sill, OK.
In January 1965, I was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and assigned to the 3rd Bn, 30th Field Artillery, Service Battery, Ft. Sill, OK. During October 1965, I began flight training at the US Army Initial Entry Rotary Wing Flight School, Ft. Wolters, TX, there I flew OH-23Cs and Ds.
During February 1966 we moved to and completed flight school at Ft. Rucker, AL. As a member of the "Yellow Hat” Class 66-8, I graduated from flight school in June 1966. Some of my classmates were John Boyce, Robert “Bear” Bryant, Joe Germani, Dave Borgeson, Gary Adams, Robby Roberson and Roger Gallagher. I was assigned in July 1966 to the 2nd Bn, 20th Aerial Rocket Artillery, “A” Battery, 1st Cavalry Division, Republic of South Viet Nam and reported to An Khe as a section leader flying UH-1B/Cs "Hogs". During the initial "Infusion Program" in Viet Nam, I was transferred to the 174th AHC at Lane AHP, near Qui Nhon and flew as a "slick" pilot in January 1967. From Lane we moved south to Ninh Hoa and flew for the “ROK” (Republic of Korea) Division.
As a First Lieutenant and a “FNG”, I was told by the Commanding Officer that I was selected to lead the 174th's ground convoy to Duc Pho. My NCOIC was Ted Saunders. This was not a fun trip and “Charlie” did mess with us at night when we bivouacked and set up a ground perimeter. But we finally made it to Duc Pho without losing any equipment, vehicles or anyone!
My time with the 174th was a great assignment, except for one event. Later at the end of my Viet Nam tour with the 174th I was reassigned to Headquarters, 35th Field Artillery Group, Bamberg, Germany where I served from August 1967 through August 1970 as the Aviation Section Commander and Bamberg Airfield Commander. My aviation section consisted of 5 OH-13 "Hillers", 5 O-1 "Bird Dogs" and 3 U-6 "Beavers". Bamberg Army Airfield also had a civilian flying club with lots of gliders.
In August 1970, I voluntarily separated from active duty and entered the commercial construction business in Ada, Oklahoma. As a ‘new’ civilian, I continued to fly and earned additional FAA ratings (airplane, commercial/multi-engine CFI/II, ATP and rotary wing commercial/CFI). In December 1980, I joined Company B, 149th Aviation of the Oklahoma Army National Guard at Lexington, Oklahoma as a Chief Warrant Officer rotary wing pilot and became a UH-1 Instructor Pilot. Also during this period I flew "commercially" for a microwave tower construction company.
Finding my niche again, I wanted to be back on Active Duty and was promoted to Major on 4 November 1984 and was assessed into the Active Guard/Reserve (AGR) Title 32 program on 4 October 1985. On 1 March 1986 I was assigned to the 45th Avn Bn (Special Operations) Tulsa, OK as the S-3, (Title 32 AGR). The SOA unit supported active duty, ARNG Special Forces units, and Task Force 160. The 45th Avn Bn conducted extensive OH/AH-6 and NVG training for 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Southeast Asia, Central America and the Pacific Rim were frequent destinations. The 45th Avn Bn was later redesignated as the 245th Avn Bn (Special Operations).
In mid-November 1993, I accepted a National Guard Bureau Title 10 AGR Tour Program as a member of the transition team for Operational Support Airlift (OSA) and relocated to Washington, D.C. on 13 December 1993. After five challenging and rewarding years working with Army fixed-wing, I retired from the Army, Colonel, with a total of 28 yrs (22 active, 6 ARNG).
I grew up and attended high school in Oklahoma and earned a Bachelor of Science in “Aviation” from Southeastern Oklahoma State University (1989) and a Master of Science in “Natural and Applied Science” from Oklahoma State University (1991).
God has blessed me with the love of my life, a sweetheart from my high school days in Oklahoma, Carolyn R. Wood. My wife and I attend the First United Methodist Church, teach Sunday School for the “Young Married” folk, sing in the choir, and do lots of volunteer work. We both have a “Passion” for life.
Our lives are also blessed with four grown children: MAJ Yancy Wood, an active duty Army Aviator
(F/W and R/W) assigned to OSAA, Fort Belvoir, VA; Ms. Angela Wood, a private pilot and technical
writer living in Dallas, TX; Robin Brockway, a vocal music teacher in Carrollton, TX and John
Rozeboom, a self-professed ‘computer nerd’ in Plano, TX. We have four wonderful grandchildren
and two beautiful, wonderful daughters-in-law.
1LT Billy R. Wood, WO1 Loughrey and crew aboard USN destroyer, South China Sea, 2 May 1967
One of Bill's favorite hobbies- Woodworking
Billy today (2006) with his old buddy Bill Murphy
Billy & Carolyn doing
their “bike” thing…(yes, we both wear helmets and gloves!)
HOME ADDRESS: 131 Amber Lane, Mena, AR 71953-8782