Capt. William Bomar Wideman was born in Anderson, South Carolina on May 11,1915. He attended The Citadel in Charleston for one year before entering the Naval Academy in 1950. As a midshipman, he participated in soccer, wrestling and track. Me was commissioned an ensign on June 6, 1955.
After graduation, he served his first tour on USS Mississippi and while attached to that battleship, was the coach of the wrestling team. In May, 1958, he was transferred to USS Babbitt and during the spring of 1940, he had temporary duty in Washington, D.C, where he received instruction in the military services class at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In August, 1941, he joined USS Omaha as assistant gunnery officer and was on board that cruiser on Nov. 6, 1941 when it captured the German motorship Odenwald, masquerading in the South Atlantic as an American merchant vessel and flying a United States' flag. The Odenwald was seized and boarded, despite efforts of the German crew to scuttle their vessel with time bombs (of which two exploded) and was taken to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Capt. Wideman assisted in the salvage of Odenwald and was on board as executive and engineering officer for the trip to Puerto Rico. For his part in this sea drama, he received a commendatory letter from the Chief of the Bureau of navigation and later a check for $5,000 for capture of an enemy ship.
Detached from Omaha in August, 1942, he reported to USS Brownson (DD-518) and served as executive officer and navigator. He next joined the staff of commander, Amphibious Training Command, U.S. Atlantic Fleet at Norfolk, Va.
In 1945 he helped fit out USS Meredith and commanded that destroyer from commissioning on Dec. 31, 1945 until January, 1948. He reported to the staff of commander, Operatoinal Development Force as assistant undersea warfare officer in June, 1949, and then served at the Surface Anti-Submarine Development Detachment, Key West, Fla, as head of the planning and evaluation department, chief staff officer, temporary commanding officer and executive officer.
In March, 1953, he became commander, Destroyer Division 222, which operated in the Korean area of hostilities and in August, 1954, he reported to the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.
He was professor of Naval Science and commanding officer of the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Unit at the University of Colorado between August, 1955 and June, 1958.
Following that, he assumed command of USS Noble. He next served as commander, Destroyer Squadron 11 and then in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations in late 1950.
His next assignment was with the Joint Staff Plans and Policy Directorate, International Policy Branch for Europe in Washington, D.C. In June, 1963, he reported for duty as commander, Naval Training Center. During his career, he earned the American Defense Service Medal with Bronze “A”; the American Campaign Medal; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Korean Service Medal and the United States Service Medal.
NTC History Home