Chairman William “Bill” Baumann has served on Nevada’s Veterans Services Commission (VSC), working alongside the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS) for 17 years. He has served at the will and pleasure of four Nevada Governors, as well as four department directors. During this time, Mr. Baumann has helped to improve the quality of life for countless veterans, military members, and their families across Nevada.
Military life came into focus for him following news on December 7, 1941, that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Mr. Baumann was at his sister’s birthday party when he first learned of the attack through the radio. WWII changed the world and impacted everyone in Mr. Baumann’s family. He explained his mother worked in an ordnance plant, assembling bullets into rifle magazines. His father worked at the Rock Island Arsenal making bombs and later, going to the Manhattan Project in Hanford, Washington. Even though he was just a boy, Mr. Baumann explained he began picking up scrap iron, rubber, aluminum, brass, and copper to recycle for the war effort. He felt the entire nation was involved in saving the world.
Fast forward to the Korean War. Mr. Baumann was still too young to join the military, but he made it clear that as soon as he could, he was going to support the war effort. The summer he turned 16, he told his mother he would not be returning to school and instead, was going to take on a full-time job. He began working for a plumber and it was during backbreaking work, digging a trench by hand, that he learned one of his co-workers was being courted by an Air Force recruiter. The rest is history. He took the Air Force paperwork home that evening. To convince his mother to sign it, he joked that if she didn’t, he was going to “join the circus!” Mr. Baumann said she signed off on the paperwork allowing him to join, but not before replying that he would not make a very good clown!
Mr. Baumann said it was an honor to serve in Korea where he ended up living out his dream to be in uniform, serving his country, while working on aircraft.
Following his 20-year military career, Mr. Baumann worked for a major defense contractor on the Space Shuttle Program, later, on the MX Missile (peacekeeper) Program. His last work assignment was for the FAA in Washington D.C. as Air Traffic and Airways Facilities Training Specialist, Management Consultant to the Airways Facilities Director and, Requirements Development Specialist for Air Traffic and Airways Facilities Programs for the FAA Enroute Centers.
Mr. Baumann credits his service in uniform for igniting his lifelong passion to serve others, particularly his fellow veterans. Mr. Baumann began serving on Nevada’s VSC nearly two decades ago. During his tenure, the VSC worked alongside NDVS, and elected officials including the Governor and Nevada Legislature to address important issues such as reducing homelessness and suicide among Nevada’s veterans and supporting the construction of a second State Veterans Home in northern Nevada. He and his colleagues worked to develop innovative irrigation solutions to keep Nevada’s Veteran Memorial Cemeteries beautiful and pristine. His work on the VSC also provided support for Veterans Court Programs and veteran caregivers. They also worked to expand VSC membership and provide additional support for Nevada’s Veterans Service Officers.
Mr. Baumann has also been very engaged with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and other veterans service organizations and volunteer groups, serving in too many capacities to list in this article. Mr. Baumann’s term on the VSC ends on June 30th. We thank him for his years of selfless service to our country, our state and fellow veterans, and their families. He will be missed.