Michael Walter Williams

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
09 February 1949 - 22 May 1968
Artesia, California
Panel 66E Line 004


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Michael Walter Williams

07 Sep 2004

"To live in the hearts we leave behind,
is never to have died."
(Thomas Campbell, circa 1888)

A Note from The Virtual Wall

An early-morning patrol by India Company, 3/3 Marines, came across a company-sized NVA unit near the destroyed hamlet of Lao Son near Con Thien. Some of the NVA soldiers were still sleeping, others were going about their morning routine - and all were disturbed when India 3/3 attacked their encampment. It was soon clear that India needed reinforcements, and the CG 3rd MarDiv undertook to provide them. Lima 3/3 was sent to help India, which was attacking to the south, and the 1/4 Marines were directed to send two companies with tank support eastward along the trace to take the NVA units from their rear. Elements of the 1/9 and 3/9 Marines were directed to establish blocking positions to east and west of the engagement in order to cordon the area.

The 1/4 Operations Log for 22 May says the 1/4 contingent departed 1245, with Bravo 1/4 and a tank element in the lead and Alpha 1/4 in trace. A deliberate engagement by Bravo 1/4 began at 1610; Alpha moved to assist. The NVA, caught between 1/4 to the south and 3/3 to the north, seemed to become confused and lost heavily to supporting air and artillery fires - but they didn't stop fighting.

At nightfall the two 1/4 companies withdrew slightly and established an NDP. At that point Alpha 1/4 had 2 KIA and 7 WIA; Bravo 12 KIA (6 known KIAs could not be recovered on the 22nd), 19 WIA, and 2 MIA. The 3/3 elements had fared better; India 3/3 lost two men killed, while both India and Lima had a number of wounded.

Both elements resumed the assault on 23 May. The 1/4 Marines encountered little resistance and had only 5 WIA. Alpha 1/4 was able to find and recover the bodies of the 8 members of Bravo not recovered on the 22nd (6 KIA, 2 MIA). The NVA repeatedly were caught in the open and supporting arms fires took a heavy toll. Most of the surviving NVA were moving north in an effort to gain sanctuary in the Demilitarized Zone a few kilometers away - but had to evade the 3/3 Marines, who were still moving south. By late afternoon the area was cleared of live NVA, but 3/3 had lost seven more men.

Although 1/9 and 3/9 established blocking positions as ordered they were not actively involved in the engagements and suffered no KIAs/DoWs.

Several hundred NVA bodies were strewn over the area, most killed by air and artillery fires, and a wealth of equipment and supplies was captured - but the two-pronged attack had cost the lives of 25 Marines:

  • 3rd Bn, 3rd Marines - Lao Son 22-23 May:
    • Cpl Benjamin H. Reid, Atlanta, GA, India 3/3
    • LCpl John H. Halman, Ashtabula, OH, India 3/3
    • LCpl Russell U. West, Orange, CA, India 3/3
    • LCpl Leonardo Ramos, San Antonio, TX, Lima 3/3
    • LCpl Kenneth C. Shemory, Mifflinburg, PA, Lima 3/3
    • Pfc Michael W. Williams, Artesia, CA, India 3/3
    • Pfc David E. Gore, Manteca, CA, H&S Co
    • Pfc James R. Corder, Wolf Summit, WV, India 3/3
    • Pvt Ralph B. Fecteau, Cornish, NH, India 3/3

  • 1st Bn, 4th Marines - An Dinh, 22 May:
    • Capt Robert E. Harris, Russell, KY, Bravo 1/4
    • 1stLt Victor D. Westphall, Albuquerque, NM, Bravo 1/4
    • SSgt Edmund J. Kelly, Wilson, NC, Alpha 1/4
    • Sgt Roger W. Boyd, Decatur, IL, Bravo 1/4
    • LCpl Denver J. Berkheimer, Streetsboro, OH, Bravo 1/4
    • LCpl Rolando Hernandez, Corpus Christi, TX, Bravo 1/4
    • LCpl Charles S. Kirkland, Kennett, MO, Bravo 1/4
    • LCpl Duane F. Horgan, Lakewood, CO, H&S 1/4 (with Bravo)
    • Pfc Davis F. Brown, Winter Park, FL, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc Carlos A. De La Hoz, Yonkers, NY, Alpha 1/4
    • Pfc Alejandro Diaz, New York, NY, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc William B. Hamacher, Gloucester, NJ, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc Clyde R. Hamby, Hayward, CA, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc James E. Joshua, Gadsden, AL, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc Raymond B. Ralls, Philadelphia, PA, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc Ray Williams, Atlanta, GA

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009