William Campbell Chambliss, son of William Henry and Jane Anne (Campbell) Chambliss, was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, on January 20, 1908. He was graduated from Montclair, New Jersey, High School in 1925, and holds the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees from Columbia University. He is a member of the Bar of the State of New York.
His newspaper career stared in the summer of 1922, prior to his graduation from high school, as a copy boy on the New York American during the school vacation period. Between 1924 and 1929 he was successively reporter, rewrite man, and assistant night city editor with the New York Daily Mirror.
He entered the US Naval Reserve in the spring of 1929, and after a year of aviation training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, was commissioned Ensign on April 23, 1930. On August 1, 1946, he was transferred from the Naval Reserve to the US Navy. His date of rank as captain is January 1, 1951.
Following flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida (1929-1930), he was designated Naval Aviator in April 1930. The next month he reported for a year of active duty on board USS Marblehead, operating with Light Cruiser Division Two, Scouting Fleet, as Junior Watch and Division Officer, and as a pilot of Scouting Squadron Five.
He returned to the Daily Mirror in June 1931. In 1935 he joined the publicity staff of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation in New York, continuing as publicity representative until the fall of 1940. During this period of inactive duty in the Naval Reserve, May 1931- November 1940, he was in the organized Reserve attached to squadrons based at the Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Floyd Field, New York.
Recalled to active duty in November 1940, he served briefly as an instructor at the Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Floyd Bennett Field, and in December joined the Staff of Commander Aircraft, Battle Force (Vice Admiral W.F. Halsey). He continued duty in that assignment, after the outbreak of World War II, until March 5, 1942, when was transferred to the Staff of Commander Carriers, US Pacific Fleet. On May 30 of that year he was detailed as Intelligence Officer, Navigator and Flag Secretary on the Staff of Commander Task Force Eighteen, USS Wasp, flagship.
“For meritorious service as Flag Secretary and Intelligence Officer on the Staff of Commander Task Force Eighteen… in the Southwest Pacific Area, from June 18 to September 15, 1942…” he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” The citation further states: “Participation in the landing and occupation of Guadalcanal-Tulagi and the subsequent supporting operations, including the pursuit of retiring Japanese forces on August 25, (he) rendered invaluable assistance in the air and surface operations of his Task Force…”
On board the Wasp when that carrier was sunk in the South Pacific on September 15, 1942, as the result of an enemy submarine attack, he was thereafter assigned to the Staff of Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet, on October 1, 1942. On December 30 to the same year he was transferred to the Staff of Commander Fleet Air, West Coast. In June 1943 he was ordered to the Navy Department, Washington, DC, for duty in the Bureau of Aeronautics, and on August 1, that year, was assigned as Aide to Admiral Harry E. Yarnell, Head of Special Planning Group, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
On December 26, 1944, he was assigned to the Office of Public Relations, Navy Department, as Head of the Program Planning Branch. The Office of Public Relations was redesignated the Office of Public Information in June 1945, and he subsequently became Assistant Director for Media. For outstanding services while in the Office of Public Information (December 26, 1944, throughout the remaining war period), he received a Letter of Commendation, with Ribbon from the Secretary of the Navy.
In August 1945 he became Deputy Director of the Office of Public Information, remaining in the Navy Department until December 1947, when he joined the Staff of the Commander in Chief, Pacific and US Pacific Fleet, and High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, as Public Information Officer. In April 1950 he reported as Public Information, Thirteenth Naval District, with headquarters in Seattle, Washington. In December 1952 he was ordered to duty as Public Information Officer on the Staff of the Commander in Chief, Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, with headquarters in London.
Reporting in September 1956 to the Office of Information, Navy Department, he served first as Director of the Plans Division, later as Director, Public Information Division. Since June 10, 1958, he was has been Deputy Chief of Information.
In addition to the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” the Commendation Ribbon, and the Purple Heart Medal (for wounds received in action), Captain Chambliss has the American Defense Service Medal with star; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, with two operations stars; the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal.