Bill's early desire was to become a physician. In 1969, after completing extensive technical medical training and three years in the United States Navy, he was assigned to the United States Naval Academy Hospital/Clinic.
It was here that the direction of his life would be forever changed. With a family to consider, he volunteered to be transferred to the United States Marine Corps and a tour of duty in Vietnam as a Combat Corpsman. He did this with the knowledge that his life expectancy in country was 3 months. He became a decorated Combat Corpsman in Vietnam from 1969-70.