About Captain Bill Taylor
An Inspiration for Bold Living and Thinking
Captain Bill Taylor had a distinguished career as a Naval Officer, an Academic in Warfare Science, and Director of Long Range Strategic Planning for Anti-Submarine Warfare at the Pentagon. His career took him all over the world during various wars, and his creative influence on Naval Warfare lingers.
Bill earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and Naval Science at UC Berkeley, with the primary objective of obtaining a Commission in the Navy. After graduating, he was sent to a new submarine school in Kittery, Maine. His first submarine assignment was as a Communications Officer to work on the installation of the first search radar systems. He developed a communication system of signals and codes for three submarines, called The Wolf Pack, a condition where secrecy was essential.
Bill went on to General Line School where the students were the most experienced Naval specialists in the field. They taught each other their specialties of surface gunnery, logistics, fleet tactics, meteorology, engineering, fire-fighting, and mine and amphibious warfare. Following, Bill spent decades in high level positions on Carriers, Destroyers and Submarines. Eventually Bill became an Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech, teaching Freshmen and Seniors about Maritime History and Law. From there Bill went to the Naval College in Monterey, where he sponsored a Masters Degree Program in Warfare Science. Admission into Bill’s Masters Program was based on job performance in previous commands, rather than on letter grades in school, a novel idea. The high performance of these students prompted wide spread use of these selection criteria in other Navy degree programs.
At the Naval Station in Norfolk, VA, as the Executor, Bill wrote the first survival/evacuation plans for nuclear war and national mobilization plans. Planning, rather than functional operations, became a hallmark of Bill Taylor’s career, which was a shift from technical manuals to strategic planning. Next, the Chief of Naval Research asked Bill to head a team of scientists to attend a NATO Conference in Italy on Submarine technology, where his work influenced that of many other nations. At the end of his three tours at the Pentagon in Naval R & D, T & E, he retired as a Captain. He then earned his PhD with a novel approach to communication, called Emulating Telepathy. This form of communication proved very successful in warfare: no actual message was sent between parties, only one word signals.
One amazing event was the CIA’s Bay of Pigs Invasion Operation in Cuba, which Kennedy resisted because it had less than a 10% chance of success. Being poorly planned, the operation fell apart after Kennedy delayed it for one day, which allowed Castro’s intelligence to oppose the invasion. The Commander of the US Invasion Force called Bill on the support Carrier to inquire where was the support aviation for the invasion? Bill had to tell him that the air support was called off. As a result, the US Invasion force was captured by Castro on the beach, and placed in prison. The Operation became an embarrassment to the USA, and Kennedy made a deal for the release of captured prisoners. The following operation, the Cuban Missile Crisis, also involved Bill and his staff when Kennedy established an embargo against Cuba, instead of pursuing any combat operation. This embargo remains to this day.
Bill says that he was always a trouble maker, challenging the system to reach beyond current norms. Toward this end, Bill challenged people to think big and to solve important problems. Bill Taylor is challenging students today who are attending the 2014 Camden Conference: To create a team research proposal that has potential for addressing Global Political Challenges of Food and Water.
Click here to read more about The Bill Taylor Research Proposal Team Award or you may download a PDF file of the Bill Taylor Award Announcement here.
Post Script: Bill Taylor passed away on August 27, 2015 at age 94. At the time, he remained an active volunteer for the Camden Conference and several other Midcoast organizations which held a Celebration of Life in his honor.