Enlisting on 25 February 1943 at age seventeen, Colonel William E. Weber spent his first seven months of service in the Army Specialized Training Program until reaching the age of eighteen in November 1943, when he entered basic training. Following basic and advanced infantry training, he volunteered for the Airborne. Graduating from the Parachute School as paratrooper and glider qualified, he then underwent airborne demolitionist training.
Selected to attend Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, he has commissioned a second lieutenant of Infantry in January 1945. After graduating from the Airborne Jumpmaster Course at Fort Benning, Weber was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division, then in the Philippines as a platoon leader in Company M, 3rd Battalion, 187th Glider Infantry Regiment. When the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, he and his fellow troopers of the 11th Airborne participated in an air landing operation to initiate the occupation of Japan.
After serving with the occupation forces in Japan, Weber was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. In April 1949, he rejoined the llth Airborne Division at Camp Campbell, Kentucky, when it returned from Japan. In August 1950 he deployed to Korea with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team as the executive officer of Company L, 187th Airborne Infantry. Wounded in September 1950 during the battle for Seoul while the 3rd Battalion, 1 87th Infantry, was attached to the 1st Marine Division, Weber was assigned as the battalion S-2 while recuperating. Following a combat jump at Sukchon, North Korea, he became commander of Company K in December 1950.
During the battle for Wonju in February 1951, Weber was severely wounded and lost his right arm and right leg. Following hospitalization, he was retained on active duty, being one of the first such disabled officers on active duty since the Civil War. His (and others’) ability to perform required duties of their branch, rank, etc., established the practice of retaining selected disabled personnel for active duty. Back then, this was an exception to common practice; today it is an established procedure.
Following assignment as Assistant Secretary-General Staff, Headquarters, First Army, Weber attended the Infantry Officer Advanced Course at Fort Benning. After graduation, he was assigned to the Leadership Committee, Infantry School, and then to the Command & General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
After graduation, he was assigned to U.S. Army Europe and served as Operations Officer, G-3, at Headquarters, Central Army Group, with NATO. Upon his return to the United States, Weber attended the Armed Forces Staff College and was then assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, in the Pentagon. After graduating from the Army War College, he served in the Office of the Secretary of the Army before retiring in 1980.
His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star with V, Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
In 1987, Weber was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as a member of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board. During this period, he and three airborne comrades planned, organized, and conducted the Fiftieth Anniversary celebration of the Army’s airborne forces in July 1990 in Washington, DC.
He presently serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Board for the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation.