William S. Gravely was born on March 30, 1888, in Martinsville, Va. He attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and was appointed a first lieutenant, Field Artillery Reserve, on Nov. 27, 1917. He was placed on active duty that same date and served until he was commissioned a first lieutenant, Air Service, Regular Army, on July 1, 1920.
His first commissioned service was with the 314th Field Artillery at Camp Lee, Va., from November 1917 to April 1918 when he went to Fort Sill, Okla., at attend the School for Aerial Observers. Upon completion of the course in June 1918, he took a brief course at the School of Aerial Gunnery at Selfridge Field, Mich. In July 1918 he was assigned to duty with the 2nd Provisional Wing at Houston, Texas, then proceeded to Ellington Field, Texas, in February 1919. The following July he became Operations Officer, 12th Aero Squadron, and served at El Paso, Texas, and Nogales, Ariz., until August 1920 when he was ordered to duty at Godman Field, Ky., as Operations Officer.
From March to August 1921, he was stationed at Carlstrom Field, Fla., where he graduated from the Air Service Pilot School. He then went to Kelly Field, Texas, graduating from the Air Service Bombardment School in January 1922. His next assignment was to the 13th Attack Squadron, Kelly Field, as Operations Officer, until the following month when he sailed for the Philippine Islands where he was assigned to the 2nd Observation Squadron as Flight Commander at Kindley Field. He moved to Clark Field, Philippines, in October 1922 for duty with the 28th Bombardment Squadron, and in July 1923 became an instructor with the 3rd Pursuit Squadron at Clark Field.
He again went to Kindley Field, Philippines, in February 1924 for duty as an instructor until his return to the United States where he became Assistant Operations Officer, 10th School Group, Kelly Field, Texas, in March 1924. He was named Director of Observation, 10th School Group, in July 1925, and subsequently became an Instructor and Director of Observation at the Air Service Advanced Flying School (redesignated Air Corps Advanced Flying School) at Kelly Field.
In August 1930 he proceeded to Langley Field, Va., where he graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School in June 1931. He was then assigned to Brooks Field, Texas, where he was designated Post and Group Operations Officer, 12th Observation Group. He was detailed to the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in August 1935, and upon graduation in June 1936, went to March Field, Calif., for duty with the 19th Bombardment Group, serving as Group Executive, Intelligence and Operations Officer, and Deputy Commander. His subsequent assignments are unannounced.
Captain, Dec. 13, 1928; major (temporary), June 16, 1926; major (permanent), June 2, 1938; lieutenant colonel (temporary), March 1, 1940; lieutenant colonel (permanent), Nov. 29, 1940; colonel (temporary), July 16, 1941; brigadier general (temporary), Jan. 17, 1944.
(Current as of Feb. 7, 1944)