Brigadier General William I. Westervelt was born on September 11, 1876 and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1900.
His service at the various manufacturing arsenals and proving grounds gave him an all-around experience in the design, testing, and manufacturing of ordnance materiel.
In 1918 the Caliber Board, often known as the Westervelt Board, convened with him as President. The Board made a comprehensive study of the artillery caliber sizes, types of ammunition, and transport best suited for the United States Army. From the Board's recommendations evolved the 105mm howitzer M2. The Board recommended a 75mm weapon for antitank guns, correctly judging the future of tank development.
The Board's recommendations profoundly influenced U.S. materiel of World War II and played a prime role in the development of materiel which displayed superiority under battlefield conditions. As late as 1940, the Board was still cited as the undeniable authority regarding armament.
General Westervelt retired from service in 1927 to begin a civilian career in business. He died on March 1, 1960.