Captain William “Bill” Combes grew up in Ludlow, VT. A graduate of Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, he received his commission upon graduation from Officer Candidate School in 1989.
Following commissioning, Captain Combes served briefly on the Joint Staff, J5 START Division, and then completed the standard nuclear power training pipeline via the D1G Prototype in Ballston Spa, NY. He reported to USS NEWPORT NEWS (SSN 750) in 1990 where he served in various division officer billets. This tour included an emergent deployment in support of Operation Desert Storm and a Northern Atlantic Deployment.
From 1994 to 1996, Captain Combes served in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology), Strategic Tactical Systems Directorate as an Action Officer and Program Security Manager for a special access program, and earned a Masters of Science in Engineering (Engineering Management) from Catholic University.
He reported to USS NEVADA (SSBN 733)(GOLD) in 1996 as the Strategic Weapons Officer. During this tour NEVADA completed Mini Demonstration and Shakedown operations (mini-DASO), Follow-on CINC Evaluation Test (FCET), and the first ever Prospective Commanding officer Operations on a TRIDENT Submarine. After his department head tour, he served as Targeting and Command and Control Officer to Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Commander Task Force ONE FOUR FOUR, from 1999 to 2001.
Captain Combes returned to sea in 2001 as the Executive Officer USS NORFOLK (SSN 714). Following local operations to conduct Fleet training exercises and inspections, Norfolk changed homeports to conduct an Engineered Refueling Overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. In October 2003, Captain Combes reported to Naval Special Warfare Group THREE, San Diego where he served as Operations Officer, and deployed to the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The Commanding Officer of USS WYOMING (SSBN 742) BLUE from December 2006 to March 2009, his crew earned the 2007 and 2008 Fleet Retention Excellence Awards, the 2008 Submarine Squadron Twenty Strategic “S” and Damage Control “DC” for Excellence, and the 2008 Atlantic Fleet Outstanding TRIDENT Submarine Award; and completed the TRIDENT Submarine Program’s 1000th Strategic Deterrent Patrol.
Following duties as Deputy Commander, SUBMARINE SQUADRON SIX, he reported as the Deputy Executive Assistant to the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. He is currently serving as the U.S. Navy Fellow to Oxford University.
Captain Combes is a graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College Joint and Combined Warfighting School.