Golden Gate Wing Guest Speaker Archive

Presentation Date: November 21, 2013

First Lieutenant William D. Bill Hermann, U S Army Air Forces

Bill Hermann was born on a Nebraska farm in 1924, the sixth of eight children: two brothers and five sisters. His father William D. Hermann was a farmer; his mother Dora (nee Graham) was a farm wife. Bill attended nearby Seward High School and graduated in 1942.

He volunteered for the US Army Air Forces and was told to continue attending the University of Nebraska at Lincoln until called to active duty. Bill had completed one semester when he was told to report to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in January 1943. He began Aviation Cadet Bombardier training at Big Spring, Texas. After graduation and commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in June 1944, he began B-17 crew training at Tampa, Florida. While there, he married Janet Sharp only five weeks before going overseas.

His crew was issued a new B-17 which they flew east via New Hampshire, Labrador, and Iceland to join the 96th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. Their assigned combat duty station was at Snetterton Heath, halfway between Cambridge and Norwich in East Anglia, England.

Bill flew 20 combat missions; one to occupied France and 19 to Germany. After Germany surrendered in May 1945, in early September Bill boarded a Liberty ship in Liverpool for the ten-day trip to New York. A few days after arrival, he was discharged as a First Lieutenant back in Missouri at Jefferson Barracks. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals.

He resumed attending college on the GI Bill, majoring in Economics. After award of his bachelor’s degree in 1947, he worked at Shell for 12 years before getting his Master’s in 1962 and his PhD in 1967. Bill and Janet had three children (two boys and a girl) during their 60-year marriage.

Bill has held many positions in business, academia and government. His experience includes:

-- several marketing positions with Shell Oil Company

-- Project Economist with Bechtel Corporation

-- Chief Economist at Chevron Corporation

He has also held teaching positions at:

-- the University of California at Berkeley

-- South Dakota State University

-- the University of Liberia

-- Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

In government, he was program Economist for the Agency for International Development in Monrovia, Liberia.

Bill’s research and writing have been in the areas of economic development and energy economics. Currently, he is an Economic Consultant and Distinguished Adjunct professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. Bill resides in Berkeley.