Billie Joe WilsonStaff Sergeant
L CO, 3RD BN, 5TH MARINES, 1ST MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
21 January 1929 - 09 February 1970
Valley Center, Kansas
Panel 14W Line 118
The database page for Billie Joe Wilson
Billie Joe is buried in Odessa, Texas, at the Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery, near many other Odessans who perished in Vietnam. He was a 41 year old Marine with 12 years of service when he was killed in Vietnam. Billie Joe is remembered on the Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial located at Midland International Airport, Midland, Texas. May his sacrifice never be forgotten.
5 Oct 2004
When I first put up the memorial on SSG Wilson, I had no idea who he really was until I started to do research on him. What I found out surprised me. It was not that he was a dedicated Marine who loved the Marine Corps, that I took for granted. What I found went deeper than that. He first came to Odessa, Texas as a Marine Corps Recruiter in 1965 during the early days of the build-up in Vietnam. He recruited many young men into his beloved Marine Corps. It didn't stop there, he was among the first who visited the families with the news of the death of their loved one in service in Vietnam. He took each death personally and he was troubled by it.
When his recruiting tour was over, he volunteered for Vietnam. He told his wife that if he died in Vietnam, he wanted to be buried among those young men who he had recruited and who were buried in Odessa. When he was killed in Vietnam, and in keeping with his wishes, he was buried in a section of the Sunset Memorial Gardens near many of the young Marines he had recruited, whose families he had consoled, and whose funerals he had attended ... and who, like himself, had perished in the service of our country.
19 Oct 2004
Billie and Sumitar Wilson were married in Thailand. She did not remarry after his death and is herself now deceased.
09 Jan 2005
From a PBVVM Representative
Billy M. Brown
4015 Melody Lane, Odessa, Texas 79762
A Note from The Virtual WallThe Lima 3/5 web site Purple Heart list carries the following notation:
"B. J. Wilson 13 September 1969 5 January 1970"indicating two separate awards of the Purple Heart. The notation does not show Wilson's rank or paygrade, but it is the right man: Staff Sergeant Wilson arrived in Vietnam on 19 April 1969 and died on 09 Feb 1970 of wounds received in combat on 05 Jan 1970.
However, his gravestone demonstrates that Staff Sergeant Wilson was the recipient of a third Purple Heart. It is uncertain when he received that award, but given his age and length of service (41 years, 12 to 13 years service) it seems likely that he had "broken service". If so, he probably served during the Korean War and received his first Purple Heart during that service.
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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