Bill Gay has spent his career in Journalism and public relations in private, public and military sectors. In addition to holding management positions at a daily newspaper, he served as an officer in the Naval Reserve and worked in public affairs staff positions for the U.S. Navy on the West Coast and in the Far East.
Gay was a reporter, editor and finally general manager for the Imperial Valley Press, the daily newspaper in Imperial County of California from 1972 to 1997. His book, Unseen Body Blows, was completed in 2019 and is a look at life aboard his father’s World War 2 Tank Landing Ship as it participated in seven Pacific campaigns.
Bill Gay was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy in 1968 upon graduation from the University of Missouri Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. He spent nearly four years as a Surface Warfare Officer aboard two ships. He was chief engineer and supply officer aboard the USS Portage (PCE 902) in Milwaukee, Wi. and then transferred to the carrier USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14) where he was Auxiliaries’ Division Officer and later Assistant Damage Control officer. Gay transitioned to the Naval Reserve after active duty. He spent more than 20 years in the Ready Reserve, most of it as a public affairs officer. He retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of commander. His military decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Vietnam Service Medal and others.
In October 1997, Bill and his wife, Sue, founded Reliance Public Relations, Inc, located in El Centro, California. In 2016, his agency began publishing a quarterly informational magazine about the Imperial Valley. Imperial Valley Alive is a quarterly publication.
He holds an Accreditation in Public Relations and in 2014 was inducted into the Public Relations Society of America’s College of Fellows, to which about 350 senior PRSA members nationwide belong. To be considered for the College, applicants must demonstrate superiority in the areas of leadership, advancement of the profession, mentoring, service and being a role model.
He also has served as a board member and ethics chair with the San Diego/Imperial County chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
Gay holds a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Redlands, Redlands, Ca. and a Bachelors of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.
Unseen Body Blows
Unseen Body Blows is the true story of life aboard one of the first World War 2 Tank Landing Ships as it operated in seven Pacific Campaigns. The story is about its crew that began service aboard LST 479 as a group of very inexperienced amateurs. The LST existed for 1,046 days and landed soldiers and Marines with their equipment at Kiska, Makin, Kwajalein, Hollandia, Guam, Leyte, and Okinawa. The title is derived from comments in a postwar history written by an anonymous crewman: "Our ship slipped in those almost unseen body blows..." that led to the defeat of Japan.