William G. Basham was born on August 25, 1947, in Bowling Green, Ky.
In 1966, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army for three years and served a tour in Vietnam with the Signal Corps, before attending flight school in 1968. He graduated from Warrant Officer Rotary Wing Aviator School Class 69-15 followed by AH-1G Cobra Gunship School. Bill’s second Vietnam assignment was in the 334th Aerial Weapons Company, 145th Combat Aviation Battalion.
Warrant Officer Basham was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while participating in aerial flight on April 1, 1970, and a second award on May 2, 1970. He was also awarded three Air Medals with the “V” Device for acts of heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy and was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer, CWO 2, during that tour of duty.
After an aviation assignment at Ft. Lewis, WA, CWO Basham completed the Aviation Safety Officers course at the University of Southern California and the Aviation Warrant Officer Advanced Course at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. He was promoted to CWO 3 during his subsequent assignment to Alaska.
Upon his Honorable Discharge in 1978, Bill pursued a career in Occupational Health and Safety with the State of Alaska. He was recruited by Nabors Alaska Drilling to lead their Safety division, eventually reaching the position of Vice President. He served as President of the Alaska Society of Safety Engineers and received the Alaska Governor’s Safety Professional of the Year Award.
After semi-retiring he moved back to Kentucky and operated a small farm. Later he took a position at Western Kentucky University in the Occupational Health and Safety Department, enabling him to achieve his life-long goal of earning a Bachelor’s Degree. After fully retiring, he volunteered with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VWF) local chapter in Bowling Green.
Bill was a member of the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, Military Officers Association of America, American Legion, Board of Certified Safety Professionals, American Society of Safety Engineers, and the Distinguished Flying Cross Society.
William G. Basham passed away on February 21, 2022.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara Basham; daughters, Renee Ellison and Cynthia Basham; and one granddaughter, Erika Ellison; brothers Larry and Gary Basham; and half-sister Lori Keith.