Dewayne Thomas Williams
Private First Class
H CO, 2ND BN, 1ST MARINES, 1ST MARDIV, III MAF
United States Marine Corps
St Clair, Michigan
September 18, 1949 to September 18, 1968
DEWAYNE T WILLIAMS is on the Wall at Panel W43, Line 25

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Dewayne T Williams
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Dewayne T Williams

PFC DEWAYNE THOMAS WILLIAMS

 

"All the photos I send are to honor my fellow Marines....my brothers."

-- Walter Dampier, 10/30/2012

NOTE: September 19, 1967 was PFC Williams' 19th Birthday. According the Marine records: On 18 September, Squad secured in vicinity of Grid BT 093643. A five man Killer Team preparing to displace was engaged by enemy force of unknown size. The team returned fire with small arms, M-79 grenade launcher, and M-26's (?). During the fire fight, wounded marine rolled onto enemy grenade, absorbing entire impact. Searched area with negative assessment. Results, two KIA (USMC), one WIA.

The two men killed in action in that contact are: PVT Steven Michael Ort, Columbus, Ohia PFC Dewayne Thomas Williams, St. Clair, Michigan

Dewayne Williams was born on September 18, 1949, in Brown City, Michigan. He attended Bell Elementary School, St. Clair Elementary, Intermediate, and High Schools in St. Clair, Michigan, and Capac High School, in Capac, Michigan.

In December 1967, Williams enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, and went into the active Marine Corps on January 2, 1968. He completed recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in March 1968; individual combat training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, in April; and weapons training with Weapons Company, Basic Infantry Training Battalion, 2nd Infantry Training Regiment at Camp Pendleton, in May 1968.

Williams was promoted to private first class in June 1968, the same month he shipped to Vietnam. Upon his arrival, he was assigned duty as automatic rifleman with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 27th Marines, 1st Marine Division, and served in this capacity until August 1968. He was then assigned duty as anti-tank assault man with Company H, 2nd Battalion 1st Marines. On September 18, 1968, he was killed in action while with the patrol mentioned above.

The Medal of Honor citation for PFC Williams reads:

Navy MOH
The President of the United States in the name of the Congress of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

PRIVATE FIRST CLASS DEWAYNE T. WILLIAMS
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifleman with the First Platoon, Company H, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division in action against communist insurgent forces in the Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam. Private First Class Williams was a member of a combat patrol sent out from the platoon with the mission of establishing positions in the company's area of operations, from which it could intercept and destroy enemy sniper teams operating in the area. On the night of September 18, 1968, as the patrol was preparing to move from its daylight position to a preselected night position, it was attacked from ambush by a squad of enemy using small arms and hand grenades. Although severely wounded in the back by the close intense fire, Private First Class Williams, recognizing the danger to the patrol, immediately began to crawl forward toward a good firing position. While he was moving under the continuing intense fire, he heard one of the members of the patrol sound the alert that an enemy grenade had landed in their position. Reacting instantly to the alert, he saw that the grenade had landed close to where he was lying and without hesitation, in a valiant act of heroism, he rolled on top of the grenade as it exploded, absorbing the full and tremendous impact of the explosion with his own body. Through his extraordinary initiative and inspiring valor in the face of certain death, he saved the other members of his patrol from serious injury and possible loss of life, and enabled them to successfully defeat the attackers and hold their position until assistance arrived. His personal heroism and devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

RICHARD M. NIXON
President of the United States

-- The Virtual Wall

Forty-two years after his death, St. Clair resident and United States Marine Private First Class DeWayne Thomas Williams was memorialized by the city of St. Clair, Michigan.

The Tower of Honor is the fourth memorial bearing Williams' name.

The USNS PFC DeWayne T. Williams, a military ship, is named after the soldier. His name can also be found inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and a portion of Interstate 69 - beginning near Lapeer and extending to the western Port Huron city limits, is known as the DeWayne T. Williams Memorial Highway.

According to a spokesman in a 2010 news article, "The family is pleased and delighted that we are honoring DeWayne. While it may have been 42 years ago, they think of it as yesterday still recalling the Marines who knocked on their front door to inform them of his death."

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The components surrounding the Tower of Honor are:

* A 90-foot hexagonal, striped tower with night lights to amplify the tower presence.

* Visitors may climb the tower and read displays on the nine landings commemorating the life and heroism of Williams.

* Sixty-five feet above the boardwalk, visitors will have a panoramic view of the St. Clair River and Canada from the observation deck.

* Topping the tower will be a webcam displaying images from top of the tower around the world

* Grounds include plaque telling the story of Williams' Congressional Medal of Honor

* Gardens and lighthouse keeper's residence blend the area into the surrounding park environment

A spokesman said the Tower of Honor retains the function of the Department of Homeland Security camera tower. It serves as an aid to navigation and has a flashing beacon visible for up to 15 miles. It is also to be a welcome center to the world's longest freshwater boardwalk.

All the details of the news article can be read here.


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