Biography: William S. Reeder, Jr.

William S. Reeder, Jr., Ph.D.

William S. Reeder, Jr., Ph.D. Colonel, U.S. Army (retired)


Dr. William Reeder is a training and leader development consultant living in the Pacific Northwest. He spends parts of each year in the education of NATO Special Operations Forces (SOF) at the NATO SOF School at Chievres Air Base, Belgium.  He was formerly an associate professor of social sciences and deputy director of the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1995 as a colonel and subsequently earned a PhD. in history and anthropology from Kansas State University. His military service included assignments in field artillery, cavalry and aviation, and he has extensive combat experience.


William reeder bookReeder is a thirty-year Army veteran with two tours of duty in Vietnam, flying armed OV-1 Mohawk reconnaissance airplanes and AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters. He participated in deep reconnaissance and surveillance operations throughout Southeast Asia and supported the special operations of MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group). He has in excess of three thousand hours of flight time including more than one thousand hours in combat. During his second combat tour, he was shot down and captured by the communist North Vietnamese, spending nearly a year as a prisoner of war.  He recently wrote a book on that experience, Through the Valley:  My Captivity in Vietnam, published by the Naval Institute Press and available from bookstores everywhere or any online book dealer.

Subsequent military assignments included various Army command and staff positions and a stint at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He commanded at all levels, platoon through brigade (including command of an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter squadron). His last assignment before retirement in 1995 was as the Deputy Chief of Staff, de facto Chief of Staff, for the United States Southern Command in Panama.

His military awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Valorous Unit Award, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and three Bronze Star Medals.  He has three Purple Hearts for wounds received in action, the POW Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star, and numerous Air Medals (one with “V” device for valor). In 1977 he was named Army Aviator of the Year and was inducted into the U.S. Army Aviation Hall of Fame in 2014. He was featured in the PBS documentary The Helicopter Pilots of Vietnam, as well as the “Attack Helicopters” episode of Deadliest Tech on the Military Channel. He has provided military commentary on CNN and the Discovery Channel.  His book received the 2016 “Distinguished Writing Award” from the U.S. Army Historical Foundation, and the Naval Institute named him their “Author of the Year” in 2017.

Dr. Reeder is married to the former Melanie Lineker of Westminster, Maryland, who is also a retired Army colonel and works as the Director of Manpower and Manning (N-11) for the U.S. Navy Northwest Region, headquartered at Bangor Submarine Base, Washington. They have four children and one grandchild.

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