First Lieutenant Ralph L. Williams

Ralph Williams

First Lieutenant Ralph L. Williams

First Lieutenant Ralph Leroy Williams was commissioned an Infantry Officer upon graduation from Infantry Officer Candidate School Class 17-66, 03 November 1966. At the time he was Killed in Action, he was leading a Platoon of Company C, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, 2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. 1LT Williams was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

CITATION: First Lieutenant Williams distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action on 14 February 1968 as an Infantry platoon leader while conducting a reconnaissance-in-force mission in enemy territory. The lead elements of his platoon were suddenly subjected to intense automatic weapons, small arms and recoilless rifle fire from heavily fortified North Vietnamese Army positions. Fearlessly exposing himself to the savage barrage, Lieutenant Williams rushed forward to reorganize his troops and evacuate casualties. While running to a farmhouse to assist a wounded platoon member, he was struck in the knee by enemy fire. He quickly treated his wound and began moving toward cover when he noticed that one of his machine gunners had been hit by tracer bullets, causing the soldier's clothing to burst into flames. Heedless of a raking curtain of hostile fire, Lieutenant Williams crawled across the bullet-swept terrain and removed the man's burning garments. Then, as he raised up to throw a smoke grenade at the North Vietnamese to screen the withdrawal of his troops, he was mortally wounded. First Lieutenant Williams' extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

His military awards and decorations include: Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

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First Lieutenant

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Mary Cilia

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