Colonel William Goodnow Stoddard, Jr.
Born in Byron, MI on May 27, 1918.
Graduated from La-Feria High School in Rio Grande Valley, TX in 1935
Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1940 and became a career officer in the Quartermaster Corps of the U.S. Army. His subject-matter expertise and exceptional leadership capabilities in several demanding and high-visibility assignments lead to the early attainment of the rank of full Colonel, and the awarding of many medals and decorations for his accomplishments. His medals included Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal; American Defense Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; European-African Middle East Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Army Commendation Medal; National Defense Service Medal and Meritorious Unit Emblem.
Bill was sent to the Pacific (China Burma India Theater) after WW II started. Very few people have heard about the CBI Theater of Operations - it has often been referred to by military tacticians and historians as the "Forgotten War," and it was only years after the war that the importance of Quartermaster supply operations to the U.S. Forces and Chinese Army was more fully appreciated. Never in the history of warfare had so much been supplied over such distances, and met with difficulties of port unloading, and transport, storage in crude bamboo structures or under tarps, in monsoon seasons of rain, and high heat and humidity. Trucks had to be loaded by GIs, Chinese, and Indian laborers because of no loading equipment, and were sent out at night over muddy roads. If the trucks slid off the road or got stuck, additional trucks were dispatched to support the U.S. and Chinese forces in combat in forward positions. Separate rations had to be provided for the GI's, Chinese, and Indian laborers. Railroads of different gauges were used for some transfers, one being for trains originally for transporting tea (with freight cars about one-third the size of U.S. cars). It must be remembered that the enemy at least at first was superior in number, training, equipment and support, and "famously determined," so there was no letting up. When the war ended, the Chief Quartermaster General in the Southwest Pacific was able to assert that "not once did the allies’ offense falter for lack of Quartermaster supplies." In view of the many adverse conditions and the almost constant need to improvise, he said, "these supply achievements will be judged as one of the miracles of the war."
There is no account of exactly what role the young Lieutenant (or Captain) Stoddard played in this assignment, but one can only imagine that he received and accomplished the orders of his superiors and then promptly worked tirelessly shoulder to shoulder with his subordinates (and perhaps Chinese and Indian personnel) to get the job done.
In approximately 1966, Bill was assigned as Director of Procurement and Production, U.S.A. Tank/Automotive CMD. In this assignment, Colonel Stoddard directed approximately six hundred military and civilian personnel in planning, contract execution, and contract administration functions for the procurement of tracked and logistics vehicles, including major components and spare parts, engineering in support of production, and related supplies and services as required. Major systems procurements (tanks, personnel carriers, special purpose vehicles) were high visibility and involved large dollar programs. Thousands of spare and repair part line items purchases were affected each year, the timeliness obviously having a significant impact on the operational readiness of the vehicle fleets worldwide.
Some time before Colonel Stoddard's arrival at TACOM, the Department of the Army conducted a detailed review of the Command performance in areas of Material Readiness, and issued several negative findings with regard to supply and procurement functions. During the next few years in follow-up visits, the reviewers commented on improvements and in the final report gave the Command high scores. This prompted the Commanding General of the Army Material Command (AMC) to observe that "TACOM's performance in Procurement Operations appears to be among THE BEST IN AMC HISTORY." Colonel Stoddard was one of the hardest-working public servants, military or civilian there ever was.
While stationed in Japan, Bill met and married the love of his life, Mary Sonoda Stoddard on October 23, 1963 in Tokyo, Japan.
Bill and Mary traveled all over the world, including England, Portugal, Scandinavia, Korea, Israel, Greece, New Zealand, Saigon, Bangkok, Nova Scotia, the Panama Canal and many trips around the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
Bill was subsequently transferred to Detroit, MI and later retired on July 31, 1970. Bill and Mary moved to Largo, FL shortly after he retired and they resided there until Bill passed away on January 27, 2007 and Mary on July 30, 2010.