McDaniel, William B.

William Boyd McDaniel, Brigadier General, USAF (Retired)
November 11, 1930 – January 28, 2016

Brigadier General William Boyd McDaniel, 85, passed away Thursday, January 28, 2016.

Brig. Gen. William Boyd McDaniel, who has died at age 85, was a decorated United States Air Force Officer, tenured University Professor and beloved husband, father and friend. Bill, a son of the Shenandoah Valley, was born in Roanoke, Virginia, where he grew up and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1949. After attending classes at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (where, despite his small physical stature, he played a season of football) and the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, Bill entered the United States Air Force through the Aviation Cadet Program. Bill completed flight training with Class 54-ABC at Hondo Air Base, Texas, in 1954 (“Every Man a Tiger”), with a follow-on assignment to USAF Gunnery School (flying F-80 and F-86 aircraft) at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

After gunnery school, Bill returned to Texas where he served as an instructor pilot in the B-25 until June 1957. During this time period Bill won the hand of Theresa (Teri) Downey of Chevy Chase, Maryland, the love of his life; they were married on June 8, 1957.

Bill’s next assignment took him to Yokota Air Base, Japan, where he served in the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (flying the RB-66) and the 6091st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron flying more than 50 special classified reconnaissance missions in the RB-50. While stationed in Japan, Teri had plans in place to literally “head for the hills” with her first child should the Cold War grow suddenly hot. Bill then returned stateside for recruiting duty, completion of his BA at the University of Nebraska and assignment flying the T-29 at Mather AFB, California.

In 1967, Bill separated from active duty and joined the Air Reserve Technician Program serving as an instructor pilot and flight examiner in the 911th Military Airlift Group, flying the C-124 Globemaster (Old Shaky) out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1971, Bill went to the Fourteenth Air Force staff at Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia. In February 1973, then Major McDaniel, took command of the 302nd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron flying the HH-34J Helicopter out of Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Bill led the 302nd through a successful conversion from rescue, to the special operations mission (assigned H-3’s).

In August of 1977, Bill was selected to form and command the 931st Air Refueling Group at Grissom Air Force Base, Indiana. Employing the skill and intelligence of highly capable personnel, Bill led the formation and employment of the 931st. In June 1980, Bill was assigned as vice commander of the 452nd Air Refueling Wing at March Air Force Base, California. He became wing commander later that same year, and managed the operations of three KC-135 units and activation of three KC-10 associate squadrons. Bill was promoted to brigadier general on April 5, 1982, and assumed command of Tenth Air Force at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, on Nov. 1, 1986. He retired from military life in 1987. During his career, Bill attained Command Pilot rating with over 10,000 hours of flying time, and qualified in 23 different aircraft. He also completed the Air Command and Staff College, Air War College and the U.S. Army War College Senior Reserve Component Officer Course in residence.

In 1987, Bill and his family settled down on the Emerald Coast; and in 1988 he took a consultant position with Reflectone Inc., where he worked through 1990. Having achieved a Master’s of Science in Counseling and Guidance from Troy State University in 1971, Bill earned a Troy Masters of Science in International Relations in 1992 and a Doctorate of Public Administration from the University of Alabama in 1997. Bill enjoyed teaching as an Associate Professor for Embry Riddle University and as an Adjunct professor instructing graduate level public administration, political science and international relations courses for Troy University through 2002. From 2002 through the beginning of 2015, Bill became an Assistant Professor for Troy and a full time instructor in undergraduate political science, as well as graduate public administration and international relations courses. He spent much time developing and conducting graduate and undergraduate online courses.

Bill took great pleasure in teaching for Troy and Embry Riddle. He especially enjoyed the relationships he formed with students and fellow employees and academics. As is common with Troy and Embry Riddle instructors, Bill took special care to accommodate the needs of military students who might be suddenly deployed, or unexpectedly extended. Bill was also sensitive to the difficulties life might throw at his students, military or civilian, which might affect their ability to successfully complete coursework. When this happened, he put much effort into achieving solutions which protected both the academic integrity of the university, and the welfare of his students. For him, the students were the reason he was there.

Bill is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Theresa (Downey) McDaniel; his daughters, Theresa (McDaniel) Bowser and Dayna McDaniel; and sons, Shannon McDaniel, Christopher McDaniel and Michael McDaniel. He is survived by his daughter-in-law, Shannon (Whalen) McDaniel; son-in-law, Brent Bowser; and son-in-law, Jet Thompson. Bill has seven grandchildren: Sean Bowser, Ryan Bowser and Niki Bowser; Chrislyn Thompson and Zackary Thompson; and Blythe McDaniel and Carys McDaniel. He is further survived by his sister, Bobbie (McDaniel) Johnston, and brother-in-law, Bruce Johnston; and his brother, Donald McDaniel, and sister-in-law, Fran (Milton) McDaniel. Bill was predeceased by his father, Jasper McDaniel, and mother, Bertha (Boyd) McDaniel; and his brother (lost in the Vietnam War), Robert McDaniel.

There will be a time of visitation held from 12:30 to 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, at Christ Our Redeemer Catholic Church, with a Funeral Mass to begin at 1 p.m. Interment with military honors will follow the service in Heritage Gardens Cemetery.

You may go online to offer condolences to the family and sign the guestbook at Heritage Gardens Funeral Home of Niceville is entrusted with the arrangements.

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