Chief Warrant Officer

Bill Stearns

Inducted 2006

Bill Stearns

Chief Warrant Officer Bill Stearns was born northeast of Guthrie and attended a one room country school for eight years, and later graduating from Guthrie High School in 1947. While a senor in high school, he enlisted in the 45th Infantry Division, and at the time of the division receiving orders to enter active duty for the Korean War, he was a Sergeant Major in Company I of the 179th Infantry regiment.

Upon returning from the Korean War he was offered a warrant officer's commission and full-time employment with the Oklahoma Army National Guard, a position he held until 1968. After a civilian career ending in 1995 he was asked to re- activate with the National Guard, being assigned as State Airlift Coordinator, and afterwards he was appointed as the liaison to the Oklahoma Legislature and the US Senate and House of Representatives.

His numerous military awards include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and the Oklahoma Distinguished Service Medal, which is highest state award. After final retirement, he served four consecutive terms as president of the 45th Infantry Division Association, and during his tenure he was instrumental in accomplishing a number of important goals. These include the moving of the 45th Division monument from an abandoned downtown location to the 45th Division Museum, and the merging of the Division Association with the 45th Division Museum, assuring the perpetuation of the history and heritage of the division. He was also instrumental in bringing together the cities of Guthrie and Edmond in the development of a joint airport. In 2004 the Oklahoma Economic Development Council named him Volunteer of the Year.