William Townsley

Colonel Bill Townsley was born at Fort Knox, KY in 1942, and traveled the world with his military family. He graduated high school from Sanderson Academy, Ashfield MA, having attended 11 K12 schools. Before his Air Force career, he served 2 years in both the US Marine Corps Reserve (’63 -’64) attaining the rank of Lance Corporal and USAFR (’65 –’67) with the rank of Staff Sergeant. While at Kansas State University he was a Senior ROTC Cadet Colonel and Wing Commander of one of its two ROTC wings. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from KSU upon graduation 1967, and a Masters degree in Human Relations from Webster College in 1976.

In Dec 1968, following Air Force pilot and survival training, he went to Viet Nam. During the next year, he flew 466 sorties for 960 combat hours. His combat awards include: the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, an Air Medal for combat action, and 11 Air Medals for numbers of combat sorties flown. He was featured in a 2000 History Channel show from the series, “Dangerous Mission” for his ‘shot-down in Laos’ story during his tour in Vietnam.

His overseas travels included Austria (3 yrs.), Japan (3 yrs.), Vietnam (1 yr), Germany (3 yrs.), South Korea (4 yrs), and many temporary duty locations overseas as well.

Since Bill’s retirement in Yorktown, Virginia in October 1994, he has been active in community, veteran, political, and charitable organizations. This included: the current Commander – Treasurer of the Hampton Roads Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) after serving as Commander (’96 -’97 and ’01-’10); Commander, Department of Virginia MOWW (’04-06’), Chairman, York County Republican Committee (’94 -’98); President of the York River Exchange Club for 7 years (a charitable organization dedicated to the prevention of child abuse); President of the Exchange Club of York (‘15-’16) and Treasurer of the three state Colonial District Exchange Clubs (‘09-’13). He is Past Commander (’07-‘08, ‘15-’16, ‘19-’21) of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 824, and he is a member the Disabled American Veterans, Victory Chapter 13.

In 1998, he received a gubernatorial appointment from Governor Jim Gilmore of Virginia, and served in the Department of Rehabilitative Services for one year. From 2000 to 2008, he wrote a political column for the weekly Yorktown Crier called “Rogue Elephant,” and later “Free and Independent.” He was a substitute teacher in the York County School Division for five years ’00-’05). In 2005, he founded a small business, We7, Inc, to produce puzzles for newspapers. From 1999 to 2005, Col. Townsley was Chairman of Senator George Allen’s Tidewater Area US Military Academy Selection Committee. In 2008, he received an appointment to Gov. Tim Kaine’s Joint Leadership Council under the Department of Veterans Services. He was re-appointed for another 2 years by Gov. Bob McDonnell until 2014. In January 2010, Bill volunteered and became s chair a new committee of citizens brought together to plan, organize and conduct the Yorktown 4th of July Parades. He held that position for two years, and then re-assumed that chairmanship in 2012 (until currently), when his VFW Post took the reins of the annual parade. He was also is the President of his Edgewood Homeowners Association for 13 years.

In April 2002, he founded the American Independence Youth Leadership Conferences, a 4 day non-profit, all volunteer organization dedicated to providing deserving high school sophomore and junior students from throughout the nation leadership, patriotism and free enterprise education. Since its inception, he has conducted 20 of these conferences, serving over 850 students hailing from CA, FL, IL, KY, LA, MD, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OK, OR, PA, SC, TX, UT, WI, and VA. Colonel Townsley is an active fundraiser and assists in fundraising and organizing the AIYLC Youth Leadership Conferences.

Bill was married to Linda Lou (Bell) Townsley for 46 yrs, before she passed in 2019. He has five grown offspring.