Freedom Fighters: C.W. Williams - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: C.W. Williams

C.W. Williams. (Source: KLTV staff) C.W. Williams. (Source: KLTV staff)
CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

C.W. Willams is mayor of Wells, a little town located in the piney woods of East Texas.

The closest he gets to bullets these days is listening to tales of hunting season exploits from Wells residents. But there was a time, 64 years ago, when Williams was dodging bullets by day and rockets by night.

"I started flying in the what we called 'slicks'."

Slicks, which were usually not equipped with guns, were used primarily to transport supplies.

"Then one of the guys on the gunship got killed so I transferred over. They said, 'you must be crazy.'"

The first assignments on the gunship were transporting the bodies of our soldiers killed in action.

"We would haul them back to some outpost and they would take them. After I had enough of that, I transferred to number 32 gunship."

Since gunships were the battleships of the helicopter squadron, Williams was soon immersed in battles with the Vietcong.

"At one time we came back and I had 50 bullet holes in the tank and one right through, right by my seat and so I felt like I was really fortunate."

Even at night when Williams wasn't in the air, he was far from safe. Night time rocket attacks were regular and deadly.

"We were on three to five-minute standbys and if you were on a three minute you'd better be at the flight line in three minutes."

Williams was in constant battle during his time in Vietnam and yet he was never wounded, something he attributes to prayer.

"You pray a lot, it's not only those in the foxholes that pray. You think about that when you're flying."

C.W. Williams was honorably discharged in November of 1966. He finished college on the G.I. Bill of Rights and taught school for 32 years, before serving the citizens of Wells as their mayor. 

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