Bill Coleman was born in Los Angeles in 1948 while his father, Jack C. Coleman, a WWII Army veteran, attended the University of Southern California on the GI Bill. Once his father graduated and entered the Civil Service as a civil engineer for the Air Force his family moved often as his father was assigned bigger and bigger projects. These included the Atlas missile silos around Dyess AFB in Abilene, TX and a major addition to the military hospitals in San Antonio.
They lived in Iowa Park, TX; Omaha, NE; Encino, CA; Abilene, TX; and Clovis, NM where Bill left for college at NMSU in Las Cruces, NM, immediately after graduating from high school. Over the next 3 years he alternated 2 semesters in college semesters with 2 semesters spent abroad in a White Sands Missile Range work co-op program tracking navigation satellites for the US Navy. He traveled to the Philippines, Suriname, Curacao, and Argentina using mobile tracking stations to provide an early version of GPS-derived location information to Polaris submarines and ships at sea.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army in November, 1969. He attended Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO and Fire Direction Control AIT at Ft. Sill, OK. He was accepted into Field Artillery OCS at Ft. Sill and joined Class 23-70. He was the Distinguished Military Graduate for his class and got his commission as a 2nd Lt. in Field Artillery on October 30, 1970.
While on active duty through early 1973 he served as a nuclear warhead assembly team officer at the 28th FA Detachment in Portogruaro, Italy, where he met his future wife Mirella. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service when he helped to prevent a major disturbance between off-duty American and Italian troops from developing into an international incident.
Bill left active duty in order to complete his college education and attended the University of Southern California where he obtained both a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts in Cinema by 1977. He resumed his military career as a member of the California Army National Guard serving as a communications platoon leader in a 155 SP battalion.
When Bill and his wife Mirella returned to Texas in 1977 he was unable to find any FA openings in the rank of captain available in the Texas Army National Guard but, putting his degree in film to use, was able to secure a position in Public Affairs at the NG state headquarters in Austin. Except for a 2 year stint as an FA staff officer at Division FA headquarters in San Antonio, Bill served the next 15 years as a Public Affairs officer, first in the 100th PA Detachment in Austin and then as PA Officer for the 49th Armored Division, headquartered in Austin.
While serving as Division PA officer he assisted the Division Commander in all media related affairs. He received a personal commendation from a PA officer sent from the NG Bureau at the Pentagon to Fort Hood to evaluate how media relations were handled after 2 fatal training accidents during “Starburst 87” which involved over 18,000 NG and Reserve soldiers training for 2 weeks at Ft. Hood. The Division Commander also gave Bill the assignment of publishing the first yearbook produced for the 49th AD since 1961 when the division was activated during the Berlin Crisis. He received a second Army Commendation Medal for his efforts as Division PA officer.
In civilian life Bill is a film business consultant who negotiated license agreements for over 7,000 films. He has also served for 6 years as the president and 21 years as a board member for the Ferguson Road Initiative, a non-profit organization representing over 90,000 residents of east Dallas. He is presently a commissioner on the City of Dallas Ethics Advisory Commission.
He continues to support military organizations acting as treasurer for the Dallas chapter of The Military Order of the World Wars since 2015.