William E. Farthing was born in Gainesville, Texas, on Aug. 7, 1892. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas in 1914. Following the outbreak of the World War, he attended Officers Training Camp at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Engineer Reserve, on active duty, on Aug. 15, 1917. He served continuously until Nov. 9, 1917, when he accepted a commission in the Regular Army as a second lieutenant of Field Artillery on Nov. 9, 1917.

His first commissioned assignment was that of an instructor at Officers Training Camp, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He joined Field Artillery troops at Camp Greene, N.C., in December 1917, and attended the school of Fire and the Aerial Observation School at Fort Sill, Okla., from February to May 1918. Upon his graduation, he served brief tours at Camp Dick, Texas, in the Aviation Repair Depot, Indianapolis, Ind., and the Air Service Depot at Garden City, N.Y. In May 1919, he became Troop Movement Officer at Mitchel Field, N.Y., and in October 1919 joined the 17th Field Artillery and proceeded to Camp Travis, Texas.

He was assigned to March Field, Calif., in July 1920, and was transferred from Field Artillery to the Air Service. He entered the Air Service Pilots School and took his flying training at Kelly Field, Texas, graduating in June 1921. He graduated from the Air Service Pursuit School at Ellington Field, Texas, the following month. He remained at Ellington Field in charge of training and as Commanding Officer of the 17th Pursuit Squadron, successively.

In May 1922 he was assigned to France Field, Panama Field, Panama Canal Zone, in command of a squadron. Returning to the U.S. in May 1925, he became a member of the Air Service Board with headquarters at Langley Field, Va. In September 1925 he enrolled in the Air Corps Tactical School, Langley Field, and upon graduating in June 1926 was enrolled in the advanced course of the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Okla. He graduated in June 1927 and was later assigned to the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, where he completed the course in June 1928. He was then assigned to the Office of the Chief of Air Corps, Washington, D.C.

He became an instructor at the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, in September 1931. He completed this tour of duty in June 1935 when he was ordered to Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., for duty with the 14th Bombardment Squadron. He then attended the Army War College, Washington, D.C., and upon graduation in 1936 was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Air Corps, Washington, D.C.

He went to Hickam Field, Hawaii, in September 1940 in command of the 5th Bombardment Group, then took command at Bellows Field. Following his assignment, he was put in command of Hickam Field in November 1941, serving in this capacity until December 1941. He then organized and commanded the Seventh Air Force Base Command, Hawaii, until October 1942. He returned to the United States that same month and became Commanding General of the New York Air Service Port Area Command (subsequently redesignated Atlantic Overseas Air Service Command). In January 1945, he was announced as Commanding General of the Pacific Overseas Technical Service Command in Oakland, Calif., and commanded both the Atlantic Overseas Air Service Command and the Pacific Overseas Air Service Command until July 1945, when he was relieved of the Atlantic Overseas Air Service Command.

On May 20, 1946, he was assigned to Pacific Air Command and further assigned to Philippine Air Materiel Area (P).

He is rated a command pilot and a combat observer.

First lieutenant (temporary) Jan. 26, 1918; first lieutenant (permanent) on Feb. 26, 1919; captain on July 1, 1920; major on Aug. 1, 1935; lieutenant colonel (temporary) on Aug. 26, 1936; lieutenant colonel (permanent) on Aug. 18, 1940; colonel (temporary) on Dec. 20, 1940; colonel on Dec. 30, 1941; brigadier general (temporary) on April 19, 1942; major general on Sept. 9, 1949.