William Harold Dewey was born in Paw Paw, Michigan, on March 28, 1920, son of Mrs. Edith Sanborn Dewey of Decatur, Michigan, and the late Mr. Dewey. He attended Michigan State University, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and entered the Naval Service as an Aviation Cadet in January 1942. Designated Naval Aviator on December 1, 1942, he was commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve from that date. He was transferred to the US Navy in the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade) in December 1944 and by subsequent advancement, he attained the rank of Commander, USN, to date from August 1, 1956.
After photographic training at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida he was assigned, in May 1943, to Fleet Air Photographic Squadron 4, as a pilot. His squadron operated in the Central Pacific Area (Marshalls, Marianas and Iwo Jima) in 1944-1945 and was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation. He was personally awarded the Air Medal and Gold Star in lieu of the Second and Third Air Medal. Citations follow, in part:
Air Medal: “For meritorious acts while participating in aerial flight as Copilot of a Liberator Photographic Reconnaissance Plane on mission over the enemy held bases at Pagan on 25 May and Truk on 6 August 1944. The successful accomplishment of these highly important photographic reconnaissance flights without fighter protection at the extreme range of the Liberator, and during which defensive functions and maneuvers could not be employed due to the nature of the mission, was due in large part to his skill and proficiency. His coolness and disregarded for danger while under enemy antiaircraft fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the US Naval Service.”
Gold Star in lieu of Second Air Medal; “For meritorious achievement in aerial flight during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific War Area from June 6 to July 10, 1944. Completing his fifth combat mission during this period, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Dewey contributed materially to the success of his squadron…” The Gold Star for the third award was won for similar service from July 22 to September 1, 1944, during which period he completed his tenth combat mission.
From December 1944 until June 1945 he was a student at the Naval Air Station, Hutchinson, Kansas, and for two months thereafter he had instruction in PB4Y aircraft at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida. Ordered next to Patrol Bombing Squadron 197, he served with that squadron during advanced training in October and November 1945, then joined Weather Reconnaissance Squadron TWO in December. Detached in February 1946, he reported in April to Fleet Air Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron FIVE (later redesignated Squadron ONE) and served with that Squadron for a year.
During the period May to November 1947 he had instruction in Photography at the Naval Technical Training Center, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and for two years thereafter was Navigation Instructor at the US Naval School, Pre-flight at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. In November 1949 he reported to the Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois, for instruction (COC Course) at the Naval Technical Training Unit, which he completed in March of 1950.
He was next ordered to duty in connection with the reactivation of the USS Bataan (CVL-29), and served as Air Operations and Combat Information Center Officer of that aircraft carrier until January 1952. As such he participated in operations in the Korea Area against North Korean and Chinese Communist forces during the period November 1950 until June 1951. After his return to the Untied States he was ordered to the Naval School, General Line, at Monterey, California, being a student there from March until December 1952, then completed instruction at the CIC School, Glenview, Illinois, in June 1954.
In July 1954 he reported to the Naval Air Station, Glynco, Georgia, and qualified as a Lighter-than-Air pilot at the Naval Airship Training Unit there in November 1954. He remained there to serve until January 1957 as Operations Officer and Executive Officer of Navy Patrol (LTA) Squadron 2, and for two years thereafter as Executive Officer of the Navy Airship Training Unit. From April 1959 until March 1960 he was a student at the US Army Language School (studying the Korean language), and in April 1960 reported as US Naval Attache and US Naval Attache for Air, Seoul, Korea.
In addition to the Air Medal with two Gold Stars in lieu of two additional Air Medals, Commander Dewey had a Commendation Ribbon (for Letter of Commendation received from Admiral Halsey, Commander SEVENTH Fleet); the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with star; the World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal: Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation Badge.
He died october 21, 2001.