William O. Foulkes was born in Oakland, California, California, on October 16, 1917. He received the degree of Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkley and prior to entering naval service was Field Service Engineer for North American Aviation (1940-1944). He was commissioned Ensign, Supply Corps, US Naval Reserve on April 18, 1944 and subsequently advanced in rank to that of Commander, to date from August 1, 1959, having transferred from the Naval Reserve to Regular Navy on August 6, 1946.
After receiving his commission in 1944, he had training at the Naval Supply Corps School, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, until October of that year, after which he had further instructions at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida. In December 1944 he reported as Stock Control Officer at the Naval Supply Depot, Okinawa, which was charged with the support of the US Marines in China. In April 1946 he joined the Staff of Commander Naval Air Bases, Fourteenth Naval District, with headquarters at the Naval Air Station, Barbers Point, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, as Stock Supply Officer and as such was engaged in the support of fifteen air stations in the Pacific area.
Returning to the United States, he was assigned in June 1947 to the Aviation Supply Office Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There he pioneered in the development of provision concepts and wrote an illustrated catalog of specifications, which is now in use, on most aviation commodities. For the latter accomplishment he was commanded by the Chiefs of the Bureau of Aeronautics and Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. In October 1950 he reported as Supply Officer on board the USS Suisun, which was engaged in the Korean support of seaplane squadrons at advanced bases. In May 1952 he was detached from that seaplane tender for duty in connection with supply management in the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, Navy Department, Washington, DC where he remained until June 1954.
Ordered to Iawkuni, Japan, he assisted in the commissioning of the Naval Air Station there and served as Supply Officer of that facility for two years. During that time it became the largest air activity in the Pacific Ocean Area. In August 1956 he reported as Staff Supply Officer on the Staff of Commander Fleet Air, Alameda, with headquarters at the Naval Air Station, Alameda, California, and from April 1959 to July 1961 was Catalog Director at the Military Industrial Supply Agency (a new defense single management agency), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He next had instruction in management and science at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, from which he received the degree of Master of Science. He was ordered in February 1962 to the USS Kearsarge and served in that aircraft carrier until ordered detached in September 1964 for duty in the Bureau of Naval Weapons, Navy Department.
Commander Foulkes has the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; American Campaign Medal; China Service Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia United Nations Service Medal.