Leading meteorologist served at Westover during the Cold War

  • Published
  • By Dr. Hector Torres-Comacho
  • 439th Airlift Wing

Brigadier General William H. Best, Jr. served at Westover Air Force Base prior to leading the U.S. Air Force Air Weather Service.

William Henry Best was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1920.  He graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics shortly before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps.  During World War II, Best served in the Pentagon Weather Central Office, graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a meteorology aviator, and was commissioned. 

After the war, he was briefly employed by the U.S. Weather Bureau before being recalled to active duty.  He served in various meteorology-related capacities in Haneda, Florida, and New York, while completing a Master’s Degree in Meteorology from New York University and engaging doctoral studies at the University of Stockholm. 

From 1957 to 1960, William Best served as commander of the 30th Weather Detachment at Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts, then returned to Chicopee a few years later to command the 8th Weather Squadron, 8th Air Force, Strategic Air Command.  After serving in roles of higher responsibility at various commands, Best wass appointed to lead the U.S. Air Force Air Weather Service. 

He retired as a brigadier general, and passed away in 1995.