Major General William K. Ghormley was born in Kansas on September 29, 1905 and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1929.
His outstanding career in the Ordnance Corps began in 1942 when he transferred from the Quartermaster Corps. He played a key role in reorganizing the Ordnance Special Weapons-Ammunition Command into an Ordnance Commodity Command for munitions. The commodity command concept has been the real backbone of logistics management since the 1950's.
As the first Commander of the newly organized Army Munitions Command, he controlled all the phases of materiel management for Army munitions.
In 1962, he introduced a combustible cartridge case for use with artillery and tank cannon which provided several distinct advantages over metal cases. Advantages to the user were reduction in ammunition weight; elimination of the need to salvage metal cases; reduction of spent cases and noxious gases in confined areas; and faster chambering of successive rounds. Advantages to the logistician were reduction in the use of strategic materials; elimination of the need to rework salvaged metal cases; reduction of production costs; and reduction of storage maintenance problems. The completely combustible case was an extremely important development because its advantages were obtained without sacrificing the safety, ruggedness, reliability, or accuracy of a round of ammunition.
Maj. Gen. Ghormley continued his service to Ordnance after retirement. From 1964 to 1972 he was the Executive Vice-President of the American Ordnance Association. He skillfully led the Association through some very difficult periods and its transition to the American Defense Preparedness Association, as it is known today. General Ghormley died in 1983.