Army Aviation Hall of Fame 2014 Induction
COL (Ret.) William S. Reeder is a legendary aviator who has made contributions to survival, evasion, resistance, escape (SERE) training and the attack helicopter community. His 30-year career included two combat tours in Vietnam flying armed OV-1 Mohawk reconnaissance airplanes and AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.
On May 9, 1972, he was leading a team of AH-1 Cobras supporting two Vietnamese ranger battalions and their American advisors. He was shot down, his co-pilot/gunner killed. Severely wounded, he evaded the enemy but was eventually captured spending nearly a year as a prisoner of war (POW).
Upon repatriation, he returned to military flight duties. He was instrumental in early night vision goggle training programs, tactical innovations later used in combat in Iraq, and the transition of the U.S. Army Apache Training Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas into what would become the 21st Cavalry Brigade. Wanting to help future POWs return home with honor, he wrote his Eight Steps for Survival in a POW Camp, still studied in SERE training courses today.
Colonel Reeder has in excess of 3,000 flight hours, over 1,000 in combat, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Purple Hearts. He was named AAAA Army Aviator of the Year in 1977.