Willhelm was born on Earth in 2317, in the city of Munich, to parents Henry and Nicole Werner. His father was a member of the Brotherhood of the Aryan Race, and pushed for his son to join as well. However, Will's respect for life led him to run away from home at the age of twelve.
His path led him to Stuttgart, where he found a job as a busboy. Nine months into his job, he had the "honor" of serving John Harriman, former captain of the USS Enterprise-B. Harriman insisted that Will enlist in Starfleet, but Will said that he had neither the money nor the means to reach San Fransisco, where the Academy was located. Harriman told him that money didn't exist and that the only thing keeping him from going was himself.
Though money WAS an object, nine months of working got him just enough for one trip to San Fransisco. After which, he enlisted in Starfleet Academy. Three years later, he requested permission to finish the rest of his training on the USS Enterprise-C, which was granted him.
During his time as an ensign, Will met Richard Castillo and Edward Shield, both of whom were also ensigns on the same ship. The trio became close friends, which lasted even after the Cardassian Incident.
When the Enterprise was summoned to Narendra III, Will became trapped in a hallway that collapsed. He managed to save everyone in the hall from death except for one: Alicia Rookwood. She forced him out of the hallway first, just as the ceiling caved in on her, resulting in her death.
The helm crew had been killed or captured by the Romulans and the new captain, Edward Shield, had inherited a severely damaged and undermanned ship. He began by promoting as many skilled officers as he could to bridge positions in order to keep the ship operational. He elected Will to serve as helmsman, which he keeps to this day.