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Adapted from "Captain William E. Calder, III, United States Navy" [biography, dated 13 September 1956] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

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  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
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William Edward Calder, III

20 October 1908 - 

PDF Version [4.6MB]

 William Edward Calder, III, was born in West Medford, Massachusetts, on October 20, 1908, son of William E. Calder, Jr., and Mrs. Julia Marcellena (Fuller) Calder. He attended grammar and high school in Medford, and received the degree of Bachelor of Science in aeronautical engineering from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Be 1928 and 1930 he had duty with the Massachusetts National Guard, serving from April 18, 1980 to July 16, of the same year with the One Hundred and First Observation Squadron. He was honorably discharged for business reasons. 

On May 5,1936 he enlisted in the US Naval Reserve, and on July 10 of that year his enlistment was terminated to accept an appointment in the US Naval Reserve.  Appointed Aviation Cadet the next day, he was commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve on July 27, 1937, and on July 29, 1946 he transferred to the US Navy. He subsequently attained the rank of Captain, to date from July 1, 1956.

Upon receiving his appointment in 1936, he had flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. Designated Naval Aviator on August 23, 1937, he joined Bombing Squadron Six, based on USS Yorktown and later on USS Enterprise. In July 1940 he was assigned to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, where he remained until relieved of all active on September 4, 1940. 

Ordered in active Naval service, he had duty between January and November 1941 at the Reserved Aviation Base, Squantum, Massachusetts. Following a year’s assignment at the Naval Air Station, Anacostia, DC he reported in January 1943 for duty on the staff of Commander South Atlantic Force. “ For meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight as Captain of a Transport Plane at Panamirim Field, Brazil, June 16, 1943…..” he was awarded the Air Medal. The citation continues in part:

“When the right engine of his plane was suddenly enveloped in flames shortly after taking off and prompt application of five extinguishing equipment proved ineffectual, (he) skillfully maneuvered the transport back to the airfield on one engine effected a brilliant emergency landing……”

In December 1944 he joined the staff of the Commander in Chief, US Atlantic Fleet and for “meritorious achievement as Officer in Charge of the Flag Aviation Unit….during operations against enemy forces, from December 1944 to September 1945….” He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.  The citation further states:

“…..Commander Calder rendered valuable assistance in planning and conducting administrative flights for the transportation of the Commander-in-Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet and members of his staff. As Aviation Aide, he effectively performed numerous special duties and was of great assistance to the Commander-in Chief in all aviation matters…..”

From October 1946 until June 1947 he was Assistant Bureau of Aeronautics Representative at the Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Division, united Aircraft Corporation, East Hartford, Connecticut, after which he had instruction at the Naval School of General Line, Newport, Rhode Island. Completing the course in May 1948, he attended a refresher course at the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas, and in September 1948 assumed command of Patrol Squadron 24. When relieved of command of that squadron in January 1950, he reported for a tour of duty as Deputy Director, Airborne Equipment port for tour of duty as Deputy Director, Airborne Equipment Division, Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, DC. 

From April to October 1952 he served as Operations Officer of USS Shangri-La (CV-38), and for a year thereafter had similar duty on board USS Tarawa (CV-40). He then served for two years on the Staff of Joint Task Force Seven, and since October 1955 had been assigned to Task Force Forty-three Operation Deep-Freeze, the Navy’s Antarctic Expedition of 1955-1957. 

In addition to the Bronze Star Medal and Air Medal, Captain Calder has the American Defense Service Medal; the America Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal. He has also been awarded the Order of the Southern Cross, rank of Cavalier, by the Government of Brazil.


Published: Thu May 17 11:42:21 EDT 2018