After serving in the French Air Service and scoring three victories, William Thomas Ponder transferred to the United States Air Service on 27 February 1918. Assigned to the 103rd Aero Squadron on 7 September 1918, he scored three more victories in October while flying the SPAD XIII. In 1932 he encountered problems with the law when he was caught smuggling Mexican beer into the country. During World War II Ponder was employed by Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation in Fort Worth. After the war he formed the Ponder Aircraft Sales Company and was on a business trip to Amarillo, Texas when he died, age 53, in a hotel room from a heart attack.
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to William Thomas Ponder, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Fontaines, France, October 23, 1918. Having been separated from, his patrol, Lieutenant Ponder observed and went to the assistance of an allied plane which was being attacked by 30 of the enemy. Lieutenant Ponder destroyed one enemy plane .and so demoralized the remaining that both he and his comrade were able to return to their lines.