Born: 1919-07-19. Died: 1995-10-07.
Walter C. Williams earned a B.S. in aerospace engineering from LSU in 1939 and went to work for the NACA in 1940, serving as a project engineer to improve the handling, maneuverability, and flight characteristics of World War II fighters. Following the war, he went to what became Edwards Air Force Base to set up flight tests for the X-1, including the first human supersonic flight by Capt. Charles E. Yeager in October 1947. He became the founding director of the organization that became Dryden Flight Research Facility. In September 1959 he assumed associate directorship of the new NASA space task group at Langley, created to carry out Project Mercury. He later became director of operations for the project, then associate director of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, subsequently renamed the Johnson Space Center. In 1963 Williams moved to NASA Headquarters as deputy associate administrator of the office of manned space flight. From 1964 to 1975, he was a vice president for Aerospace Corporation. Then from 1975-1982 he served as chief engineer of NASA, retiring in the latter year. He died at his home in Tarzana, California.