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mr. william f. reed jr wbo chattanooga

Mr. 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.

On 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.

While 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.

Dr. 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.

Mr. 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.

These 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.

Discharged 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.

While 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.

Mr. 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.”

In: “The BREEZE”, Vol. 2, No. 11, December 10, 1945. P. 7.

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