Chief Warrant Officer Four Billy K. Flanagan was born in Van Wert, Ohio on February 4, 1927. Following graduation from Van Wert High School in 1945, he entered the Army just prior to the end of World War II. He subsequently attended the Marsh Foundation Trade and Industry School and the University of Maryland.
In 1967, following 22 years of service as an enlisted man and noncommissioned officer, he was appointed a warrant officer. During his 44 years of service, he served a tour in Italy, one in Korea, one in Vietnam, and two in Germany and made many significant contributions in the area of maintenance logistics. He participated in the first Night Reforger and the first Winter Reforger.
As an auto repair technician for the Combat Equipment Battalion, 21st Support Command, he exercised staff supervision and was responsible for the maintenance mission for POMCUS stocks assigned to 142 dual-based CONUS units which exceeded $600 million in value. He was the automotive repair technician in the logistical operations office of a maintenance battalion that provided maintenance and repair parts to 30 battalion-sized units of the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and units deployed worldwide.
He advised and assisted the maintenance operations officer and the battalion commander on all automotive technical matters and acted on occasion as the mechanical maintenance officer. He identified and eliminated possible problem areas that could have slowed down or stopped operations in the maintenance shops. He distinguished himself by the guidance he provided to countless enlisted personnel, junior noncommissioned officers, and junior officers whom he helped mold into great soldiers and logisticians.
When he left the Army in 1989, Chief Flanagan was the last known World War II veteran to have retired from active service.