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Korean War vet dedicates life to service, receives assistance from Michigan Veterans Trust Fund

Wisney Navy photoWilliam Wisney Michigan State Police photo

Left: William Wisney's Navy photo, Right: Wisney's Michigan State Police photo

94-year-old William “Bill” Wisney has dedicated his life to service. He spent four years in the U.S. Navy as a yeoman and 25 years with the Michigan State Police.

Like many veterans from his generation, he never received the benefits he earned for his service. Wisney credits “his pride” for that. But when his family was recently hit with an unexpected expense, he was encouraged to seek out help. That’s when the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund came in.

Wisney is the first Korean War veteran in our I Am a Veteran series.


Wisney was born Oct. 18, 1929, in Cleveland. His father moved the family to Adrian in southern Michigan for a new job just prior to World War II. Wisney has many memories of his times at Adrian High School.

“It was different times,” Wisney says. “The high school class of 1947 was probably one of the best classes around. We had a professional football player out of there. We rode our bikes or walked everywhere.”

Wisney boot camp

Wisney's photos from bootcamp, 1948

When Wisney was 18, he and three friends decided to enlist in the Navy, knowing they would likely be drafted. Though the Selective Training and Service Act expired in March 1947, President Harry Truman reenacted it in June 1948, stating the peacetime army couldn’t maintain the numbers it needed to uphold global commitments. More than 1.5 million men joined the armed services during the Korean War.

“There were four of us that joined,” says Wisney. “We were going to get drafted, and I didn’t want to sleep in a mudhole. I wanted to go in the Air Force, but the other three guys were like ‘Oh you got to go in the Navy! You’ll go to all these different places! It’s going to be so great!’ But I’d get seasick in a rowboat.”

“We had to stay together, so we signed up together and we all went into the Navy,” Wisney continues. “When we got to the Great Lakes Training Center, they all went to one side, and I went to the other side by myself. When we graduated, two became corpsman, I became a yeoman striker. That’s a typist. I knew how to type; I learned in high school.”

Wisney Navy photoWisney Navy photo

Left: Wisney on board a Naval ship, Right: Wisney after bootcamp

After bootcamp, Wisney was sent to Little Creek, Virginia, not far from Norfolk. Two years later, while home in Michigan on leave, he got an urgent telegram.

“I came home on leave to be the best man in my sister’s wedding, and I got a telegram that said, ‘Report back to the base immediately’, and so I didn’t get to be best man. I went back and right away we were shipped to California, to Coronado.”

In June of 1950, Wisney was then sent to South Korea on the USS Eldorado, the flagship for Rear Admiral Lyman A. Thackrey. It acted as standby for the USS Mount McKinley during the invasion of Inchon, where the UN Command successfully recaptured the South Korean capital of Seoul.

“Being in the amphibious group, we’d land troops at different places and then pick them up at different places,” says Wisney. “We landed the guys and supplies at Iwon in these small boats.”

As a yeoman striker during the war, Wisney worked in an office on the ships where he’d type important letters from admirals.

“If the weather got bad, we just sat around and talked because the typewriters would slide around,” he says. “We couldn’t type. Those carriages would slide, we’d be typing and all the sudden the ship would throw you, so we’d just shut down the typewriters for the day.”

Wisney on Naval ship

Wisney on board a Naval ship

Wisney recalls seeing the Navy’s only active-duty battleship, the USS Missouri, as it provided shore bombardment support for UN forces ashore.

“I did have the experience to watch the Missouri, a big battleship,” says Wisney. “They had their big guns like 16 inches in diameter, they were a mile or two from us, and at Inchon, they were doing some firing of those big guns. If you stayed on deck, you’d see the smoke and then you’d hear the boom and then your pants would flutter.”

Wisney was honorably discharged from in September 1952 and returned home to Adrian. He worked at Pacific Finance Co. in Adrian for a few years and eventually met his wife, Patricia. They’ve been married 69 years and eventually would go on to have five children, 11 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild.

“We had our first date, and I knew that she was the one,” says Wisney. “We got married in 1955.”

Wisney wedding photoWisney family photo

Left: Wisney and his wife, Patricia on their wedding day, 1955, Right: Wisney and his wife, Patricia, along with their five children

Shortly after, a friend of his who was a Michigan State Police trooper convinced him to apply for the police academy, knowing they’d be needing to up their numbers due to a new law on the books.

“The State of Michigan didn’t have a speed law and in 1955 the state adopted a speed limit: 65 mph daytime, 55 mph nighttime,” says Wisney. “The state police only had like 600 or 800 troopers for the state and with the new speed law, he said they were taking applications, so I applied.”

Wisney MSP articleWisney MSP article

Left: article announcing Wisney's arrival at the MSP Blissfield post, Right: article with Detective Wisney investigating a burglary in Clare

Wisney went to recruit school in Lansing and then went to his first post in Detroit in April 1956. He started as a trooper and worked his way up to detective.

“I was in the intelligence unit, we worked undercover, and we worked with Detroit Police Department during the Detroit race riots.”

Wisney MSP photoWisney detective photo

Left: Wisney's MSP photo, Right: Wisney investigating a crime scene

Wisney served 25 years with the Michigan State Police, retiring in 1981. He never got connected to any of the veteran benefits he earned for his service because he says he has too much pride.

It wasn’t until 2024 when the well at his home in Rosebush stopped working that he knew he’d need help.

Wisney family photo

Wisney and his wife, Patricia, along with their five children

“We had money saved up, but we didn’t plan on needing a new well,” says Wisney.
He got connected to the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund, who was able to fully cover the cost of a new well, valued at more than $10,000.

“It feels really good, to know there’s people out there who care and want to help,” says Wisney.

Since its inception in 1946, the MVTF has helped veterans of every wartime era overcome unexpected expenses ranging from utility bills to home repairs to mortgage assistance and get back on their feet financially. To learn more about the Trust Fund, visit

To apply for emergency funds from the MVTF, veterans should contact the MVTF county committee serving the county where you reside or fill out and submit an Emergency Assistance Form.

Veterans can find a Veteran Service Officer by using the search tool at or by calling 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838).