William Thomas Ainsworth

March 18, 1954October 6, 2020

CAPT William Ainsworth (USN Ret)

Will was the son of a Navy Chief Petty Officer, a veteran of WWII and the Korean War. Will was born in 1954 in the dispensary onboard NAS North Island and began his military career on December 7, 1972 when he enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 18. After recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, Private First Class Ainsworth attended “A” School at NTTC Millington, Tennessee. His first assignment was to the HMH-361 Flying Tigers at MCAQS Tustin, California, as a CH-53 Helicopter Mechanic and Air Crewman. While assigned to HMH-463 in 1975, Sergeant Ainsworth flew missions in Operation Eagle Pull and Operation Frequent Wind; the evacuations of Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Saigon, Republic of Vietnam, respectively. In December 1976, he was discharged from the Marine Corps and began working as a civilian aircraft mechanic at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, California while pursuing his college education.

In 1984 Will was commissioned as a Navy Ensign through the Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida. After attending Aviation Maintenance Officer School, Will was designated a 1520 Aviation Maintenance Duty Officer. He subsequently reported to the VA-192 World Famous Golden Dragons based in Lemoore, California. During this tour, VA-192 transitioned from the A-7E Corsair to the FA-18A Hornet and changed homeport to Atsugi, Japan to join Carrier Air Wing FIVE operating aboard the USS Midway (CV-41). Subsequent tours were as Production Officer for Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, NAS North Island, student at the Naval Postgraduate School, Maintenance Material Control Officer for the VF-111 Sun Downers, Aviation Maintenance Management Team Leader for COMNAVAIRPAC, Carrier Air Wing TWO Maintenance Officer, and Deputy Program Manager for COMNAVAIRSYSCOM PMA260. While at NAVAIR, Will was selected to head a major AIMD and in March 2001 assumed duties as the Officer in Charge of AIMD North Island. In June 2003, he reported as Executive Officer of the Naval Air Mediterranean Repair Activity based in Naples, Italy, and took command of NAMRA in May 2005. During his tour with NAMRA, he was responsible for establishing forward-deployed depot-level repair sites at Al Asad and Al Taqaddum, Iraq in support of Navy and Marine Corps combat air operations. Subsequent to his command of NAMRA, he was assigned to the staff of Commander Fleet Readiness Centers and in October 2008 he was assigned to the staff of Commander Naval Air Forces where he served as Director, Force Aviation Maintenance Policy. Will retired from the Navy in 2010.

Will earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento and a Master’s Degree in Material Logistics Management from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. In addition to numerous personal, unit and campaign awards, Will was honored with selection as Fighter Wing Pacific Maintenance Officer of the Year in 1992 and the Admiral Stan Arthur Award for Logistics Team of the Year in 2003.

After his military retirement in 2010, Will returned to work as a civilian as the Naval Aviation Maintenance Program Policy Manager. He was responsible for coordinating the efforts of Commander Naval Air Force, Commander Naval Air Systems Command, and Navy and Marine Corps Fleet staff Subject Matter Experts in the reviewing and updating of Naval Aviation Maintenance Policy. Will retired from civil service in July 2020.

In his "spare" time Will loved to challenge his creative side with landscaping and gardening. Additionally, he satisfied his sense of adventure with extensive travel.

Will died after a long battle with cancer. He is survived by Jan, his wife of 41 years, son David, daughter Brandi, sister Carol, 8 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren and numerous other relatives.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


William Thomas Ainsworth

have a memory or condolence to add?

Grant Gorton

October 26, 2020

Will was an icon and one of kind. He taught me when to be humble, and when it was time to fight the fight on behalf of the men & women in the United States Navy. He always had a smile on his face, and took the time to really listen when I needed his help, and I cant think of one single time where his sound advice was wrong, in fact, it made me stronger.

Will was a good and decent man. We will miss him dearly, but we know that he is in good hands in heaven.

Fair winds my friend,

All the best,

Danny Knutson

October 23, 2020

I just received word of Will’s passing, and am crushed. He was the epitome of what we fondly call “shipmate.” He truly cared about those around him and due to those close bonds, he excelled in every endeavor. We worked together very closely when Will was the CVW-2 air wing maintenance officer on USS Constellation. As CAGMO, he was able to increase combat readiness in 9 squadrons during multiple extended at-sea periods thru his extensive shore- based contacts. He also ensured we flew off all the aircraft at the end of combat deployment, even after we had barricaded a Hornet 2 months prior. Karen and I also hold dear the times we shared with Will and Jan on vacation in Italy travelling to Naples, Pompei, Positano, thru Tuscany, Pisa, Cinque Terra and Florence. There is one thing that Will’s picture and obit does not capture, his smile that lit up the room and drew us all in. Fair winds, Will, and our love to Jan.

John Shukla

October 23, 2020

It was an honor and privilege to work with CAPT and then Mr. Ainsworth. He constantly leveraged his incredible experiences while in the Fleet! A consummate professional, Will was championing aviation readiness to his last day. Because of Will we are working hard to finish the efforts he started.

For his family- please know that he had wide respect, reach, and positive impact across Naval aviation. My deepest sympathies to you and appreciation of your sacrifices and support which enabled Will to lead, push, and cajole us forward!


October 22, 2020

Will's career was something we all looked upon with great admiration. Our 30 year friendship with Will and Jan is causing us to pause and reflect on the personal moments. In choosing a memory to share, it would have to be the times when we'd get together at their home with a group of friends we like to call " The ol' gang", gathering around their dining room table for an evening of great food and conversation. Will was a good cook and a great host. Both he and Jan enjoyed entertaining, we loved being a part of that.

Ron and Linda Burroughs

Ted Miller

October 22, 2020

Will was a man of integrity, logic, humility, and compassion with a strong understanding of what it meant to be on both sides of the enlisted and officer experience. It was a true pleasure to serve with him in the early years of his commissioned service at NAS Lemoore, MCAS Iwakuni, NAS Atsugi, embarked with Airwing FIVE in USS Midway, and at NAS North Island AIMD. The World Famous Golden Dragons (VA/VFA-192) were called on to do a number of one-off tasks from serving a tour with the Marines to a rapid transition to the F/A-18, and homeport change to Japan. In every event, Will played an important part to ensure it all got done right. “Keep ‘em flying” was his mantra.
Will was a fellow maintainer and a close friend who I’ve valued over the past 36 years. I will miss him greatly.
Ted Miller, CDR, USN (ret)

Marty Shaunessy

October 20, 2020

I too served with Will at COMNAVAIRPAC in the late 90's. The consummate professional, Will always had time to answer a question, provide guidance or just listen to what any of us had to say. While we all flailed about from time to time, Will was the rock in our portion of the second deck we called "The Hood." I admired his ability to balance family and the Navy even with the intense travel schedule the inspection teams had. Above all Will was a friend to his friends! Jan and family, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Rest easy Shipmate in the loving arms of our Lord.

Karen Cunningham

October 20, 2020

I had the pleasure of working for CAPT Will Ainsworth from 2008-2010 as his secretary at CNAP. He was such a nice person/boss who took care of his employees. Praying for the Ainsworth family during this difficult time. You will be miss CAPTAIN.

Karen Cunningham

Larry Straub

October 20, 2020

Will’s military career is a testament to his record of excellence in aviation maintenance leadership and management. Having served with and for Will for many years his passion and dedication to improving the fleet Sailor and Marines efforts and ability to get the job done was second to none! He was very passionate about his work and equally passionate about his family. He truly loved them both equally. I will miss my friend and mentor, but I know he was a man of faith and that he is with the Lord, free of pain and suffering. Jan and family, you will forever remain in my thoughts and prayers......

Julie Clegg

October 20, 2020

Jan and Family, I am so sorry for your loss. I know he was an amazing man because I know Jan and she, herself, is an amazing woman. I wish I’d had the chance to meet Will; he clearly had many wonderful adventures in life and adored his family. My thoughts , prayers and heart are with you all. May God carry your tender hearts as you remember Will.

Terree DeVries

October 19, 2020

Will was literally born into the Navy. Right here in San Diego. I hadn’t known that. There are many things about his impressive career that I did not know. What I did know is how beloved he was to his friends, and to his family. And how talented he was, in so many ways. Of all his accomplishments, and there are many, I think the greatest is how he managed to woo and wed one of the finest women I have ever known. And how, even after 41 years – 41 years! – of marriage, they still loved and respected and cherished each other. He will be missed. There is a great big hole in the lives of all those he touched that will not soon heal. Memories of him are small consolation for the loss of him. And yet, it must be, because we cannot make it otherwise. His job is done. Be at peace, Will. Be at peace.


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