Lieutenant Colonel William R. Melton was born in Marysville, California and raised in nearby Rio Oso. He is a 37-year veteran of the active US Marine Corps. In 1965 he won a Bronze Rifle Competition Badge on Okinawa, and later in 1965, served in Vietnam as an infantry squad leader in 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, and received a combat commission. In 1968 and 1969 he served as an infantry platoon leader in 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. In 1975 he commanded an infantry company in 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines during the evacuations of Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Saigon.
For his service he was awarded the Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal with "V", Purple Heart, two Meritorious Service Medals, Navy Commendation Medal with "V", three Navy Achievement Medals and two Combat Action Ribbons. Later, in 1975, he was assigned to Marine Corps Recruiting Station, Oklahoma City, where he returned to make his home after retirement.
He graduated Oklahoma City University in 1979 and in 1980 was assigned to History and Museums Division, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington D. C. where he edited the Volume "US Marines in Vietnam": "Vietnamization and Redeployment 1970–1971." Prior to retirement he served as Head, Marine Corps Ground Training, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia. He is past President of the Central Oklahoma Chapter, Military Officers Association of America and was Vice Chairman of the Oklahoma Veterans Council. He is a life member of National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution where he is a George Washington Fellow and is a life member of the Military Order of the World Wars.