Rear Admiral William VanMeter Alford, Jr. is a native of Charlottesville, Va., but was raised in Lexington, Ky. He received his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky. He was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Candidate (ROC) program.
Following graduation and receipt of his commission from Officer Candidate School, Newport, R.I., and attendance at several Navy schools in Charleston, S.C., he reported to USS Reaper (MSO 467) home ported in Long Beach, Calif. He served as Operations, Communications and Mine Counter Measures Officer. Rear Adm. Alford next served on board USS Gridley (CG 21) as First Lieutenant and Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer. While on board Reaper and Gridley, he deployed twice to Vietnam and participated in three Vietnam campaigns, Operation Market Time and Gulf of Tonkin Northern Search and Rescue operations.
In 1971 Rear Adm. Alford moved to the Atlantic Fleet. He served as Navigator and Legal Officer on board USS Hermitage (LSD 34) until June 1972. During that tour Hermitage served as command and control ship for the Exercise Snowy Beach LARC recovery effort.
Since his release from active duty in 1972, Rear Adm. Alford has served as Commanding Officer of Naval Reserve (NR) USS Kalamazoo (AOR 6); Executive Officer of NR USS Moinester (FF 1097); Commanding Officer of NR USS Biddle (CG 34); Executive Officer of NR Commander Cruiser Destroyer Group 12; Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of NR Commander 6th Fleet, Detachment 109; Commanding Officer of NR Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Detachment 109; as the first Commanding Officer of NR Commander 6th Fleet, Detachment 802; EA and XO to the Deputy Commander, United States European Command; Deputy Commander, United States 6th Fleet; and J3R, United States European Command.
During his tenure with Commander Cruiser Destroyer Group 12, Rear Adm. Alford was chosen to serve as the United States Navy representative to the German Navy for Exocet missile testing and analysis, including live firing. During Desert Storm, Rear Adm. Alford served as an Assistant Naval Attaché, Tel Aviv, Israel. As the 6th Fleet Detachment 802 Commanding Officer, Rear Adm. Alford served as acting 6th Fleet Chief of Staff for numerous theater-wide national, multi-national and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercises, including Partnership for Peace (PfP) exercises. Also during this command he served on active duty as the 6th Fleet Chief of Staff, on board USS LaSalle, Gaeta, Italy, for a period of in excess of six months. During his tenure as the Chief of Staff, the 6th Fleet conducted five Non-Combatant Evacuations, served as the Commander of three Joint Task Forces (two of them simultaneously), completed an historic Black Sea cruise and prepared the first battle plans for Kosovo operations.
In his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant/Executive Officer for the Deputy Commander in Chief, United States European Command, Stuttgart, Germany, Rear Adm. Alford participated at length during Kosovo/Serbian Operations Allied Force, Allied Harbour and Joint Guardian, and as acting EA/XO for a prolonged period.
As Deputy Commander, United States 6th Fleet, Gaeta, Italy, he participated in the planning for Operation Enduring Freedom as it pertains to the 6th Fleet Area of Operations that includes the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Levant and Sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to his day to day operational duties. He was integral in the formation of Joint Force Maritime Component Commander Europe (JFMCC EUR) for Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) and Leadership Interdiction Operations (LIO) in the theater and the theater wide classification of Critical Contact of Interest (CCOI)/Contact of Interest (COI). He has also served as Deputy 6th Fleet/JFMCC for several European Command (EUCOM)/NATO/Allied joint exercises.
As the battle staff director, J3R, for the United States European Command, Rear Adm. Alford was recalled to active duty for OEF and OIF. He facilitated the reorganization of the EUCOM staff into the European Planning and Operations Center (EUPOC) for the execution of the EUCOM War on Terrorism (WOT) and served as the Deputy Commander of the EPOC.
In August 2004, Rear Adm. Alford was again recalled to active duty to serve as the United States Pacific Command Chief of Staff.
Rear Adm. Alford served as a member of the Commander Naval Surface Reserve Force's Vision Division project and as a member of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy's (Reserve Affairs) white paper working group on the future of the Naval Reserve.
He has received the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (2), the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal (2) and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, among other awards.