William Clyde Stinson, Jr
Lieutenant Colonel William Clyde Stinson, Jr., Infantry, US Army, served as Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 52d Infantry Regiment, from mid-1968 until he was killed in action on March 3, 1969, while delivering badly needed amunition to me and picking up our two dead in his command and control helicopter.
"Doc" Stinson was born in Dublin, Georgia, 8 September 1928, to William C. and Robbie Lee Stinson. His father, William C. Stinson, Sr. had served his country in World War I a decade before. Stinson grew up in the depths of the depression. The family's faith got them through the hard times and taught William how to handle the difficult times to come. Just after his eleventh birthday, World War II began. During the early years of the war, William joined the Victory Corps at Dublin High School and took part in many activities to support the war effort.
He graduated from Dublin High School in 1944. Stinson dreamed of being a physician. He enrolled at Emory College at Covington Georgia in hopes of becoming a doctor. His friends began to call him "Doc." "Doc" Stinson left Emory in 1946 to join the United States Army, but he would forever carry the brotherly nickname for the rest of his life.
Stinson began his military career in the 19th Infantry Regiment for a short term until he decided to return to Emory. However, Stinson couldn't get the military out of his system. He re-enlisted in 1948 and sought an appointment to the United States Military Academy. He was was assigned to the 1802nd Special Regiment, which was stationed at the Academy at West Point. On July 2, 1949, Stinson was accepted to the freshman class at West Point. He was officially a member of the Class of 1953.
He graduated with his class on June 2, 1953. Just hours after tossing his hat into the air, William married his sweetheart, Mildred Pierce. As a first assignment, he was given duty with the 11th Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. During the next 8 years, assignments, subsequent to Fort Campbell, moved Doc and Mildred to Ulm, Germany, and Fort Carson, Colorado, with the 9th Infantry Division, to Fort Benning, Georgia, for duty with the Infantry Board and then in 1961 to the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Then Doc' had his first combat tour in Vietnam in 1962 when he was assigned there as an advisor in the headquarters of the Vietnamese III Corps. He served a five-month stint and returned home after being wounded on a patrol in late November, 1962. During an ambush, Stinson was shot at least three times in his legs.
After he recovered from his wounds, he was reassigned to West Point for the next 3 years as an instructor from 1963 to 1966. His next assignment was for duty in the Headquarters, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1966-67. As a J3 (Joint Operations) staff officer, he closely followed events in Southeast Asia and felt that all of the experience of the previous fifteen years would have been for naught if he could not become a part of the United States effort there. He persued assignment to Vietnam, managing to get his tour in Hawaii curtailed in order to take an assignment to Command the 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry.
During his last month of assignment as Battalion Commander, LTC Stinson's battalion faced bitter combat. While providing protection to the Vietnamese villagers in the Hau Due Valley of Quang Tin Province and attempting to relieve enemy pressure on a Special Forces camp, two of his companies became heavily engaged with a regular North Vietnamese Regiment. On the third of March 1969, a lull appeared in the conflict and Doc moved in his helicopter to perform that same act of mercy that had earned him the Soldiers Medal -- that of rescuing from the battle area a number of his wounded troops. He helicopter hovered at the edge of a rice paddy where the unit had just gotten C Company wounded out on a medevac chopper. On this occasion his aircraft met a fusillade of enemy small arms fire.
At the time the Colonel was hit, he was leaning out, holding onto the body of SGT Bruce Wayne Thompson, which was falling out of the chopper because of the intense maneuvering the pilot did to avoid the enemy anti-aircraft fire. The Colonel's last act was keeping that soldier's body from falling--he brought it back into the chopper but Doc shortly succumbed to his mortal wounds received in this, his last combat action.
The United States soldiers killed in action were the Battalion Commander:
LTC William Clyde Stinson, Dublin, Georgia and
The men of his command, who thought the world of him, renamed their base camp, "Fire Support Base Stinson." The United States Army honored the memory of LTC Stinson by naming a guest house at Fort Gordon in his honor. His courage, daring and compassion are marked by his being awarded two Silver Stars for valor, a Soldiers Medal for courage in rescuing wounded comrades and the Air Medal for achievements in aerial flights. The Virtual War does not record all of the possible medals a soldier could be awarded, so we have put together a graphic for all of the awards received by LTC Stinson during his career with the Army.
He was awarded Silver Star with 1 bronze Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC); Soldiers Medal; Bronze Star Medal with 1 bronze OLC; Purple Heart with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster; Air Medal with numeral 4; Army Commendation Medal with 1 bronze OLC; World War II Victory Medal; Army of Occupation Medal with Germany clasp and Japan clasp; National Defense Service Medal with 1 bronze service star; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; and Vietnam Service Medal; and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with Device (1960- ).
All Ribbons Awarded
He was awarded skill and qualification badges: Combat Infantryman Badge (1st Award); Expert Infantryman Badge; Basic Parachutist Badge; Expert Badge with Pistol Bar; and Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar.
Combat Infantryman Badge
Expert Infantryman Badge
Read more about the life and family of LTC Stinson at
West Point Alumni Association
Dublin County Georgia BlogSpot
West Point Defender LAURENS COUNTY HONORS MEMORY - 2011
LTC William Clyde "DOC" Stinson, Jr, was buried at his beloved West Point in the post cemetery, an honor reserved for officers held in the highest esteem by the United States Army. He was survived by his wife Mildred and three wonderful daughters: Dawn, Leigh Ann and Katherine.
Stinson's former boss at West Point summed up his feelings for Doc upon his burial at the West Point Cemetery: "To pay honor to Doc as he comes home to the place which I guess next to God, his country, and his family he loved best of all. There was always something special about Doc - something that made him better. I think perhaps it was a combination of gentle compassion, his quiet courage, and his deep and genuine concern for the feeling and well being of others."
- -The Virtual Wall, 25 April 2014
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