Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


William J. Ely | Multiple Units - Army

3:25   |   Engineer LTG Ely was instrumental in supporting the 6th Army's successful Pacific campaign, and once he came home, he continued a long, illustrious career in the Army. From the Pentagon to Paris, he served in a variety of administrative engineering roles.

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Keywords   :     William J. Ely    Bill Ely    Norfolk VA    Armed Forces Staff College    Joint Forces Staff College    base development    Pentagon    Joint Chiefs Of Staff    Washington DC    Sacramento CA    dam    Folsom Dam    Paris    US Army Materiel Command

Videos ( 4 )
  • William J. Ely  |  WWII  |  Army Corps of Engineers  |  6:17

    He was having trouble paying for college, so when he heard that West Point would pay you to attend, LTG Ely secured an appointment and entered the academy in 1929. Assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers, he soon was selected for a major project, the construction of the harbor entrance on Midway Island.

  • William J. Ely  |  WWII  |  Engineer Section, Headquarters, 6th Army  |  6:04

    Assigned to 6th Army headquarters staff, engineer LTG Ely planned and managed the construction of bases in New Guinea and the Philippines, as Allied forces took territory back from the Japanese. His first operation was at Arawe on the coast of New Britain, where he learned how it felt to be strafed and what it was like to see death up close.

  • William J. Ely  |  WWII  |  Engineer Section, Headquarters, 6th Army  |  7:47

    LTG Ely recalls the moves of General MacArthur through New Guinea and the Leyte campaign. The senior engineer helped plan the Philippine invasion and the development of bases as the Allies swept through the islands. He describes a shooting gallery as Japanese planes attacked his transport, and the bravado of MacArthur when stray bullets found his headquarters area.

  • William J. Ely  |  WWII  |  Engineer Section, Headquarters, 6th Army  |  4:36

    At General MacArthur's headquarters outside Manila, engineer LTG Ely was helping plan the 6th Army's invasion of Japan when the atomic bomb changed all that. One month after the surrender, he was flying over Hiroshima in a Japanese plane, trying to find the best landing areas for the victorious troops.

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