William J. Diffley

President, USS Olympia Association, HNSA Board Member, President, Vice President, Secretary

Captain William J. Diffley was commissioned an officer in the United States Navy on March 8, 1945. He served in both World War II and Vietnam, with medals for his service to the nation including The Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (Combat V), The Navy Unit Commendation and the Vietnamese Honor Medal First Class and other theatre and campaign medals. His leadership skills were demonstrated in various command positions, including as captain of the USS Crossbill and USS Pickaway.

After retiring from active duty in 1974, Captain Diffley was appointed Assistant executive Director of the US Alabama Battleship Commission, becoming Executive Director in October, 1977.

His outstanding service as Executive Director of the USS Alabama Memorial and the many innovative systems he put into place, inspired the creation of the William J. Diffley Award, given to retiring Executive Directors of HNSA member ships or museums.