Freedom Fighters: Billy Williams , life in Vietnam and Korea - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: Billy Williams , life in Vietnam and Korea

Billy C. Williams Billy C. Williams
Billy C. Williams Billy C. Williams

Billy C. Williams of New Chapel Hill, Texas, joined the Army in 1963. 

During his twenty-two years in the Service, he served a combat tour of duty in Vietnam and three tours of duty in Korea.  He narrowly missed death numerous times and during the past few years has suffered from his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.  Williams retired as a Sergeant First Class in September of 1985.

The realities of war set in the minute Billy Williams set foot on the Vietnamese soil. 

Dodging North Vietnamese bullets as they ran from their plane at Ben Hoa Airbase, was the first lesson in survival for Williams and his classmates.

"We had to fight the weather, we had to fight the Viet Cong, had to fight the heat, the snakes, mosquitoes, the rain ..."

Later in life, Williams was to find that the exfoliate, or "Agent Orange" sprayed liberally on the surrounding countryside, was to be one of his worst enemies.

"Diabetes, I had hepatitis about five times, also had prostate cancer."

From Ben Hoa to Saigon, where he was assigned guard duty, and on to Long Ben to head up a support group to fight off Viet Cong who had assembled behind the front lines, Williams life was always in danger.

"But foot patrol I thought was the worse because you're on the ground. They see you but you don't see them."

While ambushes, snipers, and sneak attacks might seem more personal, U.S. barracks were a prime target for the enemy at the Long Ben Base, often called "Rocket and Mortar Center."

The night Williams' barracks was destroyed, he missed death by only a few hours.

"Came back the next day and the little hotel I lived in was gone, it was a bunch of splinters."

Williams stayed in Vietnam thirteen months before being transferred to Korea in 1969 for the first three tours of duty.

Although the Korean War had been over for a decade, relations were still tense between North and South forces, and tragic clashes happened often. Williams was in Korea when the infamous "Ax murders" occurred.

"Some of the soldiers went out there, a Major, a Sgt. first Class, and 3 or 4 privates went over to cut limbs off the trees. The North Koreans came out and chopped them to pieces."

The limbs were taken off the trees, simply to allow American guards to see over the DMZ line into North Korea. But from that time to this, the DMZ line has always been a hot spot.

After 22 years of service in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, Korea, Germany, and The States, Billy C. Williams retired as a Sergeant First Class in 1985.

"I enjoyed it. I would go back."

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