William J. Stoddart, born May 14, 1945, in Ely, Nevada, graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1968. His first assignment was at Pirmasens Army Depot, Germany, where as a second lieutenant he commanded the Headquarters and Headquarters Company. While at the depot, he took over the depot's Operating Equipment Division, increasing production and cutting the backlog over 75 percent. Stoddart next served, from 1970 to 1972, in South Vietnam, commanding the 85th Maintenance Company and then the 156th Heavy Equipment Maintenance Company. His last assignment in Vietnam was as Executive Officer and Materiel Officer of the 92nd Service Battalion, where he established a model deprocessing facility at Da Nang for retrograding units and equipment. He returned to the United States to complete the Ordnance Officer Advanced Course and earn a Masters in Business Administration from Babson College. Stoddart then served as an instructor at the Army Logistics Management College, Fort Lee, Virginia, from 1974 to 1976.
He graduated, as part of an exchange program, from the British Army's Armour-Infantry Course at the Royal Armour Center and School in 1977, followed by graduation from the US Army's Command and General Staff College in 1980. He then began a series of key assignments in research, development, and acquisition. From 1980 to 1981, Stoddart was Test Officer and R&D Coordinator for the M1 Tank Program, carrying out operational testing in arctic, desert, and jungle conditions. He served, from 1981 to 1982, as Chief, Automatic Test Equipment Office, combining the test equipment for the M1 Tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicle into one system.
From 1982 to 1984, Stoddart served as Executive Officer to the Commanding General, Tank Automotive Command, at Warren, Michigan, and next commanded the Detroit Army Tank Plant for two years, where he oversaw the phase-out of M60 tank production while phasing in M1 tank production and simultaneously increasing production rates. He then graduated from the Army War College and the Defense Systems Management College, followed by an assignment, from 1988 to 1989, as Project Manager for the Improved Recovery Vehicle, carrying the project through the source selection phase for production of the M88A2 Hercules. From 1989 to 1992, he served as Program Manager, Heavy Tactical Vehicles. He and a fielding team deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, where he was tasked to procure 1,000 heavy equipment transporters (HETs) to support offensive operations. He did so through an innovative combination of purchasing HETs from Eastern Europe and buying or leasing commercial vehicles.
In his final assignment, from 1992 to 1995, Stoddart served as Program Executive Officer, Tactical Wheeled Vehicles, fielding the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) and the armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). He was also instrumental in fielding the Forward Repair System in record time. COL Stoddart retired in 1995, but continues to serve and support the Soldier as President of the Defense Division of the Oshkosh Truck Company, providing the latest, improved systems, to include the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT), HET, and Palletized Load System (PLS), to the US Army, its sister services, and its allies.