Major General William E. Potts was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1935 and entered the U.S. Army on November 8, 1958 through the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps at Vanderbilt University. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree and subsequently received a Master of Public Administration.
The Ordnance Corps was the first of the Combat Service Support branches of the Army to secure approval of its plans for integration into the Army's new Regimental System and he was formally appointed to the reconstituted Office Chief of Ordnance on October 28, 1985.
He was the first to hold that proud and historic position in over twenty-three years. His tenure as Chief of Ordnance was marked by improvements in unit and individual training, improved methods of identifying and securing the best qualified men and women to serve as Ordnance Officers (including improvements in ROTC training and officer procurement), and the stimulation of interest among warrant officer candidates in technical career fields. He succeeded in getting a single Ordnance Enlisted Assignment Branch established at the Military Personnel Center at the Pentagon.
Under his guidance, the Ordnance Center and School started producing increased quantities of doctrinal literature. He placed considerable emphasis on standardization, not only within the Ordnance Corps, but also in cooperation with the other branches of the Army, the other services, and to some extent in conjunction with other NATO forces, notably those of Great Britain and West Germany. General Potts retired in 1987.