William F. Reed, born November 18, 1875, retired from the
Weather Bureau on November 30, 1945. Mr. Reed stationed at
the Chattanooga Checking Station at the time of his retirement,
entered the Bureau at Washington, D.C., August 14, 1891, as
a messenger boy. In April 1892, he was assigned to Atlanta
as assistant observer, and in February 1895, transferred to
Chattanooga. Ordered to take charge of the station at Pensacola
in August 1904, he served there through December 1917.
January1, 1918, Mr. Reed entered the Navy as Lieutenant. He
instructed Navy men at Pelham Bay, New York, for overseas
duty in taking meteorological observations until April 1918,
when he was sent to the Navy’s Aviation Ground School
at Pensacola as instructor in Aerology.
with the Navy at Pensacola, Mr. Reed qualified as a dirigible
pilot. His ballooning expeditions out from the Pensacola carried
him to the various landings in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.
On practice balloon flights from Akron, Ohio, he landed in
Ohio, Virginia, and New Jersey.
F. W. Reichelderfer, then a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy,
made one trip with Mr. Reed from Akron to Ashtabula, Ohio,
where they landed in the trees at the edge of Lake Erie and
slept in the balloon fabric until morning. Presumably Commander
Reichelderfer decided to do his own flying after that experience,
for he later qualified at Lakehurst as a pilot of rigid airships.
Reed did quite a bit of balloon racing while in the Navy.
He piloted the Navy balloon in the National Balloon Race out
of Milwaukee on May 31, 1922, and won third place, landing
in the Ozark Mountains, 20 miles south of Salem, Missouri,
on June 2. The winner of second place landed near Joplin,
Missouri, while the winner of first place, a Major Westover
in the Army balloon, went above the lower cloud deck where
strong southwest winds prevailed and landed the next morning
(June 1) in the wilds of Quebec, Canada. The Weather Bureau’s
maps and pibal records were made available to all pilots.
three pilots who placed in the Milwaukee race were sent to
Geneva, Switzerland, in July 1922, to compete for the Gordon-Bennett
Trophy. The winner, a Belgian, landed in Roumania. Mr. Reed
landed in Bavaria.
from the Naval Reserve Force in June 1922, Mr. Reed established
a poultry and dairy business on a 70-acre farm near Chattanooga.
He never lost interest in Weather Bureau activities and asked
for reinstatement in the Bureau in 1940. He was assigned to
the Chattanooga WBO in April of that year.
in Chattanooga, Mr. Reed planned and constructed a mechanical
device for continuously recording wind gusts and direction,
which he was requested to send to the Central Office for examination
and testing in the Instrument Division. He also donated a
sunshine recorder of his own design to the Bureau.
Reed states that since he has retired he will probably pursue
his musical proclivities. He has already composed and copyrighted
numerous songs, the first of which, composed in 1940, was
entitled “The Weather Balloon Song.”
“The BREEZE”, Vol. 2, No. 11, December 10, 1945.