The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom

Private First Class

United States Marine Corps

Dewayne Williams



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 are of operations, from which it could intercept and destroy enemy sniper teams operating in the area. On the night of 18 September 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

Dewayne T. Williams, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in September 1969, was born 18 September 1949, in Brown City, Michigan. He attended Bell Elementary School, St. Clair, Michigan, St. Clair Elementary, Intermediate and High Schools at St. Clair, and Capac High School, in Capac, Michigan.

On 18 December 1967, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and was discharged to enlist in the Regular Marine Corps on 2 January 1968.

He completed recruit training with the 3d Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, in March 1968; individual combat training with Company Y, 3d Battalion, 2d Infantry Training Regiment, Camp Pendleton, in April; and weapons training, Weapons Company, Basic Infantry Training Battalion, 2d Infantry Training Regiment, at Camp Pendleton, in May 1968.

He was promoted to private first class, 1 June 1968. Upon his arrival in the Republic of Vietnam later that month, he was assigned duty as automatic rifleman with Company I, 3d 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, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. On 18 September 1968, he was killed in action while on patrol in the Quang Nam Province.

A complete list of his medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

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