William F. Grimm was born May 18, 1927 in Centralia, Washington. He grew up there and in Piedmont, California. In 1945, at the age of 17, he was granted his high school diploma early in order to enlist in the Navy to defend the country he so loved. He served in an enlisted capacity through the end of World War II whereupon he was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated with a Bachelor of Science with the class of 1950.
Grimm’s first tour of duty was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea in Korean waters. In 1951, during flight training in Pensacola, Florida, he earned his Naval Aviator designation and wings. In 1965 he was designated a Carrier Anti-Submarine Plane Commander and Instructor Pilot in S-2 model aircraft.
After a lengthy correspondence and very short courtship, Grimm and Edith “Ede” Huggins were married on New Year’s Eve, 1951; It was true love and they remained together until Ede’s passing in 2010. Together they had three children - Bill Grimm, Martha Workman, and Liz Patten.
Grimm’s Navy career spanned 32 years, serving in both the Korea and Vietnam wars. Assigned to Patrol Squadron VP-21, he flew both the P4M Mercator and the P2V Neptune. He attended Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and from 1956-1959 and taught at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Deploying on the USS Hornet, he then flew carrier based Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft in VS-37 and VS-35. Bill earned a postgraduate degree in Science from San Diego State. He commanded ASW Squadron, VS-38, deploying with them twice to Vietnam. As a Captain, Bill also commanded Carrier Anti-Sub Air Group 53, flying the S2E Tracker, E1B Tracer and SH3A Sea King. After tours in Washington D.C. and on NAS North Island, Grimm retired in July 1977 having accrued 3900 career flight hours, and 490 carrier landings, with 175 of them at night.
Grimm’s many decorations include the Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Air Medal with Gold Star for meritorious achievement in aerial flight during Vietnam, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal, Korean Campaign (5 stars – K1-K5), World War II Victory Medal, United Nations Service Medal, China Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Korean Service Medal.
He received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for the Manned Spacecraft Recovery Force Pacific (TF-130) for meritorious service while supporting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration manned space flight; he aided in the historic first moon configured unmanned recovery of the APOLLO4 (AS-501).
Grimm’s hobbies included fishing, gardening, golfing, and tinkering in his garage. After retiring from the Navy, he opened Grimm T.V. & Appliance in Coronado with fellow USNA graduate Eugene Wisenbaker. After years of selling and fixing appliances, he retired to the Coronado Golf Course serving as secretary and publicity chair for the Men’s Club. Grimm passed away in his home on June 29, 2018 at the age of 91 with his three children and caregiver Maria at his side.