About Lt. General William E. Potts, ‘41
Lt. General William E. Potts, a native of Heavener, Oklahoma attended the Oklahoma Military Academy with distinction and honor from 1937 to 1941. Upon his graduation from the Academy, he entered the armed forces of the United States in service to his country and in the course of his service suffered grievous wounds in battle.
Potts participated in 15 campaigns, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Although he was 19 when he completed his military training, he was commissioned as a U.S. Army Second Lieutenant within six weeks of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
After a promotion by Gen. George Patton, he became the youngest field grade officer to lead a battalion in Europe. He commanded an armored cavalry unit responsible for the East-West German border, the Fulda Gap, and the Frankfurt-Berlin autobahn. He also served on the Army General Staff, the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the office of the Secretary of Defense, in joint, combined and Allied staff positions, and as the Army representative in the U.S. National Intelligence Community.
During his 33 years of military service his gallantry, dedication and devotion to duty were recognized by the awarding to him of fifty decorations from seven nations. His lifetime of dedicated and selfless service has brought distinction, not only to himself, but also to Rogers State University and to the legacy and memory of the Oklahoma Military Academy.
In recognition of and appreciation for this lifetime of service, Lt. General William E. Potts was selected as the first inductee into the Oklahoma Military Academy Hall of Fame and was inducted on June 16, 1984. Potts was the highest ranking alumnus from OMA.
General Potts passed away on August 17, 2005 and shortly after that time the OMA Alumni Association and RSU established the prestigious Lt. General William E. Potts Award of Excellence
Potts Award Recipients
- Lt. Col. Edwin Price Ramsey ‘37 (Posthumous) (2017)
- James Morrison ’52 (2016)
- Dr. Larry Rice (2013)
- Mr. Gene Little (2011)
- Dr. Danette Boyle (2007)
- Colonel John Horne (2007)