William W. Elpers

Commander William W. Elpers, USN(Ret.), died due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease in Alexandria, VA, on 10 June 2009. He was 74 years old. Bill was born in Hammond, IN. He graduated as valedictorian from Fort Branch High School, prior to entering the Naval Academy in 1952.


Following graduation, he served on HALE (DD-642) for a year, then on MEREDITH (DD-890) for three years. In 1960, he became executive officer and navigator of SUMMITT COUNTY (LST-1146), and in June 1961, assumed command of WHITEHALL (PCE(R)-856) for two years. In 1963, he was assigned as personal aide to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Fleet Operations and Readiness). In 1965, after studying Vietnamese at the Defense Language Institute, he was posted to the Naval Advisory Group, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, where he had duty as Vietnamese Navy River and Sea Force Advisor and Counter Insurgency Plans Officer. In that capacity, he served as project officer and planning officer for Operation Game Warden (Task Force 116) and as such, planned and wrote the first operations order covering all facets of the Navy Delta River Patrol Force. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V and also received from the Republic of Vietnam the Navy Distinguished Service Order, Second Class, and the Armed Forces Honor Medal, First Class. He reported in 1966 as executive officer of SAMUEL N.MOORE (DD-747) until October 1967. He attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, as a quantitative analysis major, receiving his master of science in management in June 1969. That August, he reported as aide and flag secretary to the Commander Sixth Fleet. He returned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, in 1971 and then in August 1973, he became Comptroller and Director of Administrative Services in the Office of Information, Navy  Department.


He retired on 29 September 1976 for health reasons and then worked as a wholesale toy distributor in the Washington, DC, area until 1978, when he spent two years helping to start an arcade game company. Bill enjoyed restoring old Volkswagens. Surviving are his former wife, Jacqueline Thompson Elpers of Germantown, MD; son, Michael William Elpers of Alexandria, VA; three granddaughters, Caroline Julia Elpers, Miranda Josephine Elpers and Sarah Jessica Elpers; and brother, Dr. J. Richard  Elpers of Woodside, CA.Bill was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on 14 August 2009 with military honors. The Elpers Family