Bill Baugh was born on July 17, 1934, in Piqua, Ohio. He was commissioned a 2d Lt through the Air Force ROTC program at Bowling Green State University on June 10, 1956, and went on active duty beginning October 15, 1956. Lt Baugh completed Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his pilot wings at Laredo AFB, Texas, in January 1958, and then completed fighter interceptor pilot training in the F-86D Sabre in July 1958. His first assignment was flying F-89 Scorpion and F-101B Voodoo interceptors with the 465th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and then the 49th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Griffiss AFB, New York, from July 1958 to September 1963. Capt Baugh served as an F-101 and then as an F-4 Phantom II pilot with the 92nd Tactical Fighter Squadron at RAF Bentwaters, England, from September 1963 until he deployed to Southeast Asia in September 1966. He flew F-4s with the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing out of DaNang AB, South Vietnam, from November 1966 until he was forced to eject while flying his 50th combat mission over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on January 21, 1967. After spending 2,235 days in captivity, Maj Baugh was released during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, and then attended Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from July 1973 to June 1974. His final assignment was at Peterson AFB, Colorado, where he served on the staff at Headquarters North American Aerospace Defense Command, followed by service as Director of Personnel at Peterson AFB until his retirement from the Air Force on May 15, 1981. Bill returned to government service in 1983, and served as Chief of the Public Affairs Office for the 2nd Space Wing at Falcon AFB, Colorado, until retiring in 1991. He married the former Mary Ellen Dubois of Piqua, Ohio, in 1955, and they had four children together. Bill Baugh died on February 19, 2010.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel William Joseph Baugh, United States Air Force, for gallantry and intrepidity in action in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force during the period 5 October 1967 through 29 May 1969, while a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. Ignoring international agreements on treatment of prisoners of war, the enemy resorted to mental and physical cruelties to obtain information, confessions, and propaganda materials. Lieutenant Colonel Baugh resisted their demands by calling upon his deepest inner strengths in a manner which reflected his devotion to duty and great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.