Born on July 17, 1909, in Osyka, Mississippi, William D. Ott enlisted in the Mississippi National Guard in July 1931, and served until February 1939 attaining the rank of master sergeant. He entered Federal service in November 1940 and served as Regimental Sergeant Major in the 106th Combat Engineers Regiment. He was commissioned a 2d lieutenant in March 1941, promoted to 1st lieutenant in June 1941, and served as Assistant Inspector General in the 31st Infantry Division. In July 1942, he was promoted to captain while serving with the Air Support Section, Military Requirements Division, Headquarters USAF. He was promoted to major in April 1943 and served as Assistant Inspector General, First Troop Carrier Command. From August 1945 to December 1946, he was assigned as the Inspector General of the Ninth Troop Carrier Command. He was promoted to colonel in December 1946 and was released from active duty on December 29 of that year.
In February 1947 he joined the Kentucky Air National Guard as commander of the 123d Air Service Group. In July 1951, during the Korean War, he was recalled to active duty as Executive Officer of the 116th Fighter-Bomber Wing in Japan. Upon release from active duty in August 1953, General Ott served as Executive Officer of the 123d Fighter-Bomber Wing, Kentucky Air National Guard, later redesignated the 123d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. On December 23, 1959, he was appointed as Deputy Adjutant General for Air and federally recognized as brigadier general on February 29, 1960. He was appointed as Assistant Adjutant for Air on December 10, 1963.
Schools: LLB, University of Mississippi, 1939; University of Texas, 1939; Aircraft Observer, Air Force Flight School, 1942; Inspector General School, 1943; Reserve Personnel Officer Course, 1958.
Decorations and Awards: American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with ten-year device, United Nations Service Medal for Korea.
Civic Affiliations: Louisville Lumbermen’s Club, Masons, Scottish Rite, Shrine; Military Affairs Committee, Louisville Chamber of Commerce; Kentucky Retail Lumber Dealers Association, Louisville Armed Forces Committee, National Association of Home Builders, Hoo-Hoo Club, Life Member of National Guard Association of the U.S.
Civilian Occupation: Wholesale lumber dealer.
General Officers of the Army and Air National Guard, Office of Public Affairs, National Guard Bureau, August 1966.