Charles Q. Williams
Major, United States Army
at Charleston, South Carolina, September 17, 1933, he earned the Medal
of Honor in Vietnam while serving as First Lieutenant, 5th Special Forces
Group at Dong Xoai, Republic of Vietnam, June 9-10, 1965. He was the second
Medal of Honor winner in the Vietnam War. He was wounded and fellow Medal
of Honor recipient, Seabee Marvin Shields,United States Navy, was killed
while they were attempting to destroy a Viet Cong bunker.
He died on October 15, 1982 and was buried
in Section 65 of Arlington National Cemetery.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant (then 2d Lt.), U.S. Army, 5th Special Forces Group. Place and date: Dong Xoai, Republic of Vietnam, 9 to 10 June 1965. Entered service at: Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Born: 17 September 1933, Charleston, South Carolina. G.O. No.: 30, 5 July 1966.
1st Lt. Williams distinguished himself by conspicuous
gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty while defending the Special Forces Camp against a violent
attack by hostile forces that lasted for 14 hours. 1st Lt. Williams was
serving as executive officer of a Special Forces Detachment when
an estimated Vietcong reinforced regiment struck the camp and threatened
to overrun it and he adjacent district headquarters. He awoke personnel,
organized them, determined the source of the insurgents' main effort and
led the troops to their defensive positions on the south and west walls.
Then, after running to the District Headquarters to establish communications,
he found that there was no radio operational with which to communicate
with his commanding officer in another compound. To reach the other compound,
he traveled through darkness but was halted in this effort by a combination
of shrapnel in his right leg and the increase of the Vietcong gunfire.
Ignoring his wound, he returned to the district headquarters and directed
the defense against the first assault. As the insurgents attempted to scale
the walls and as some of the Vietnamese defenders began to retreat, he
dashed through a barrage of gunfire, succeeded in rallying these defenders,
and led them back to their positions. Although wounded in the thigh and
left leg during this gallant action, he returned to his position and, upon
being told that communications were reestablished and that his commanding
officer was seriously wounded, 1st Lt. Williams took charge of actions
in both compounds. Then, in an attempt to reach the communications bunker,
he sustained wounds in the stomach and right arm from grenade fragments.
As the defensive positions on the walls had been held for hours and casualties
were mounting, he ordered the consolidation of the American personnel from
both compounds to establish a defense in the district building. After radio
contact was made with a friendly air controller, he disregarded his wounds
and directed the defense from the District building, using descending flares
as reference points to adjust air strikes. By his courage, he inspired
his team to hold out against the insurgent force that was closing in on
them and throwing grenades into the windows of the building. As daylight
arrived and the Vietcong continued to besiege the stronghold, firing a
machinegun directly south of the district building, he was determined to
eliminate this menace that threatened the lives of his men. Taking a 3.5
rocket launcher and a volunteer to load it, he worked his way across open
terrain, reached the berm south of the district headquarters, and took
aim at the Vietcong machinegun 150 meters away. Although the sight was
faulty, he succeeded in hitting the machinegun. While he and the loader
were trying to return to the district headquarters, they were both wounded.
With a fourth wound, this time in the right arm and leg, and realizing
he was unable to carry his wounded comrade back to the district building,
1st Lt. Williams pulled him to a covered position and then made his way
back to the district building where he sought the help of others who went
out and evacuated the injured soldier. Although seriously wounded and tired,
he continued to direct the air strikes closer to the defensive position.
As morning turned to afternoon and the Vietcong pressed their effort with
direct recoilless rifle fire into the building, he ordered the evacuation
of the seriously wounded to the safety of the communications bunker. When
informed that helicopters would attempt to land as the hostile gunfire
had abated, he led his team from the building to the artillery position,
making certain of the timely evacuation of the wounded from the communications
area, and then on to the pickup point. Despite resurgent Vietcong gunfire,
he directed the rapid evacuation of all personnel. Throughout the long
battle, he was undaunted by the vicious Vietcong assault and inspired the
defenders in decimating the determined insurgents. 1st Lt. Williams' extraordinary
heroism, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great
credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
Photo courtesy of Raymond L. Collins
Page Updated: 7 October 2000 Updated: 10 September 2001 Updated: 28 September 2003 Updated: 2 March 2006