Major General William E. McLeod was born 25 April 1921 in Granite, Oklahoma. At age 16 he enlisted in the "French 75" field artillery battery of the Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Infantry Division. He entered federal service when the 45th was federalized in 1940. He entered Field Artillery Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1942. He joined the 333rd Artillery Battalion at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. The unit fought in five campaigns in Central Europe.
McLeod earned the Bronze Star with "V" Device in December 1944 when his battery was surrounded while he was on a reconnaissance mission. He fought his way through the encirclement, inspiring his men. McLeod was captured during the Battle of the Bulge on 17 December 1944. He tried to escape twice but was unsuccessful. He was liberated in April 1945 and remained in the Army.
During 41 years, McLeod served overseas on the Italy-Yugoslavia border and the Free Territory of Trieste. Other assignments included overseas tours of Iceland, Okinawa, Germany, and Korea. He served as a troop commander, staff officer, and staff member of the Chairman's Special Studies Group for the Secretary of Defense. His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Distinguished Service Medal, three awards of the Legion of Merit, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and two awards of the Army Commendation Medal. MG McLeod died 26 August 2005 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.