Captain William Alan Wolters U. S. Navy, passed away in May 2017 in Deland, Florida. He was born in Muskegon, MI, in 1950. He leaves behind his wife of 45 years Pamela (Hurst), his two daughters Alicia (married to David Petry) and Linnea, seven grandchildren, his sisters Mary Jo (married to Brent Peterson) and Paula (married to Alan VanDuinen), his brother Philip, and many nieces and nephews.
Bill graduated from Muskegon High School in 1968 and Hope College in 1972.
Bill went to AOCS in Pensacola Florida where he established himself as a quick study. Bill went through flight training at VT-10 and selected for the VAW community as a Naval Flight Officer. He completed the RAG at VAW-120 in Norfolk Virginia and was recognized as a guy who could get things done.
Ensign Wolters joined his first fleet squadron, the Bluetails of VAW-121 aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. During his time with the Bluetails he picked up Lieutenant and proceeded on his second cruise just days after the Iranian hostage situation.
At VAW-121 LCDR Wolters was remembered by his shipmate then Ensign (future Captain) Robert MacDougall. Bob wrote Bill and I served in VAW 121 the Bluetails, with CVW 7 on IKE in 1980-81. We sailed to the Indian Ocean and the Med and the Caribbean. I was an Ensign, Bill was a LCDR, a senior CICO in the E-2C Hawkeye. He taught me the trade of being a CICO. Bill was a happy and fun guy. He taught me that, while deployments were sometimes long and arduous, that Good Times could be had, anywhere. Throughout his time with our squadron, Bill always gave more than he got….and we will always appreciate that…and hope that in our travels….we can to for others…as Bill did for us.
Bill came into wide recognition within the VAW community when he started his second tour as an instructor at the Greyhawks of VAW-120. He enjoyed his time there from 1981 to 1984. Bill was recognized as one of the most knowledgeable officers in the VAW community. He was quick witted and tactically oriented.
Bill was early selected and returned to the fleet as part of the Bear Aces of VAW-124…..a squadron he would later command. He finished his department head tour with distinction.
As a Strike leader instructor, Bill put his stamp on training many future strike leaders for the U.S. Navy. Bill was a recognized and respected strike leader. He taught the best the Navy had to offer with his extensive knowledge base and experience. He was widely recognized as one of the best instructors at Naval Air Station Fallon, The Navy’s Strike Warfare Center of Excellence. Bill routinely trained Carrier Air Group Commanders and improved the overall strike capabilities readiness for the Navy. If that was not enough, he managed to build a beautiful home by himself.
Bill completed an especially good tour in Carrier Group FOUR in San Diego, California. He helped the staff immeasurably bringing his keen intellect and experience to the staff. Bill was the go to guy there at CARGRUFOUR. His outstanding performance led to his selection for squadron command.
Bill arrived at the Bear Aces of VAW-124 where he teamed up with Commander Tom “Turbo” Parker. Bill was an outstanding XO and key assets to CAG EIGHT. CAG Moore (future Vice
Admiral and 5th FLEET Commander) routinely put CDR Wolters in places to help the Air Wing and Carrier Battle Group led by Rear Admiral Jay Johnson (future CNO). Bill was a fixture throughout the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) Team. He was heavily relied upon to provide his exceptional strike planning knowledge. While Bill was XO of VAW-124 the squadron lost an Bear Ace 603 in the Adriatic Sea. Bill ensured every wife and loved one were properly taken care of and that all of needs were addressed. Bill was instrumental in making sure Navy traditions were properly completed for every last detail for the funeral and memorial service. There was not a dry eye in the overflowing NAS Norfolk chapel. The service included a spectacular missing man formation. The VAW-VRC community will remember that day for years to come. Commander Wolters assumed command of the Bear Aces and took the squadron to new heights. Under his command, VAW-124 was recognized for various awards and successful missions.
The next assignment for Bill was the pre-commissioning ship USS JOHN C. STENNIS, CVN-74. No matter was too small for Bill. He dived into being part of the ship’s company as the Operations Officer. Bill was the driver who greatly ensured the precomm ship was ready to go to sea, a daunting task for those unfamiliar. Bill was instrumental in getting the USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74) through sea trials. It was there Bill was selected for Captain.
Captain Wolters wrapped up his tour on Stennis and headed over to COMOPTEVFOR where he was especially helpful for the Navy as the Chief of Staff. Bill was a naval operations expert. Bill was well liked but was a stickler for excellence. He brought the entire team up. Those at COMOPTEVFOR greatly respected Captain Wolters.
Bill was remembered by Jerry Mantei, “Bill will always remain in my memory as a man that really did know and could do anything. During my time at COMOPTEVFOR and after he was truly a great mentor, leader, and friend. A truly great American and human, who inspired and did so much. He will be truly missed. All the best to the family, they will have great memories to cherish as so many others will. Jerry Manthei, Retired USN, OPTEVFOR 1998-2001 and honored to have known Bill ever after.
Bill retired from the Navy as a Captain in 2000. Few will equal the work he did for the Navy.
After retirement from the Navy, Bill worked for Old Dominion University, SAIC and ARCATA and continued to support the Navy and where he was recognized as the go to guy for nearly any project. Bill brought his broad knowledge to once again support the U. S. Navy in a meaningful way.
Bill officially retired and he and his wife of 45 years Pam moved to a 5 acre piece of heaven in Deland, Florida. Bill was a man of little sleep, always working on a new project. He was perhaps one of the most accomplished mechanic, technician, and jack of all trades. Bill was always willing to lend a hand to others. In many a cases his technical skills were truly game changers for the people he helped. Bill could regularly be seen driving his tractor or building various projects. He never slowed down and truly went out with his boots on.
Bill loved his wife Pam, two twin girls Alicia and Linnea, and his seven grandchildren.
Bill was remembered with a large crowd who celebrated his life on May 13, 2017. In attendance were many of his family and friends. Captain Kevin Oakes U. S. Navy (ret.) delivered the eulogy. In attendance from the VAW community were Captain Larry Tant USN (ret.), Captain Stephen Kingston USN (ret.) and Commander Rudy Constanzo USN (ret.). Members from COMOPTEVFOR were in attendance as well. There was not a dry eye in the chapel. No one there was ready to see this great man leave. Captain Wolters was interred at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery in June 2017. Fair winds and following seas Bill, rest in peace.