JAMES D WILLIAMSON
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HONORED ON PANEL 33E, LINE 54 OF THE WALL

JAMES D WILLIAMSON

WALL NAME

JAMES D WILLIAMSON

PANEL / LINE

33E/54

DATE OF BIRTH

09/24/1942

CASUALTY PROVINCE

LZ

DATE OF CASUALTY

01/05/1968

HOME OF RECORD

TUMWATER

COUNTY OF RECORD

Thurston County

STATE

WA

BRANCH OF SERVICE

ARMY

RANK

SFC

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Contact Details

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR JAMES D WILLIAMSON
POSTED ON 11.11.2007
POSTED BY: John R. Lazarczyk

One Name At a Time

The following article entitled "Remembering the fallen of the Vietnam War, one name at a time", appeared in Stars and Stripes (www.stripes.com) on November 9, 2007:

WASHINGTON — John Lazarczyk was waiting to hear a name.

He knew he might have to stand in the chilly November darkness for a couple of hours, but that wasn't important. He was there to honor a man he had never even met.

As volunteers lined up in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and took turns reading the names of some of the 58,256 Vietnam War dead Thursday night, Lazarczyk spoke about James Daniel Williamson, an Army Spec. 4 who was a gunner on a UH1D helicopter that was shot down over Laos on January 5, 1968.

Rescue and recovery crews were unable to reach the scene, so Williamson and the four other soldiers on the copter were thereafter listed as missing in action.

When MIA bracelets were introduced, Lazarczyk got one. It bore the name of James Williamson.

"I kept the home fires burning over all those years" by wearing the bracelet, said Lazarczyk, a semi-retired chief financial officer now living in Shepherdstown, W.V. "Then, miraculously, last year the remains of those five men were found in Laos."

Lazarczyk, who served with the 282nd Quartermaster Co. in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969, attended Williamson's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery in August, 2007. There he met the fallen soldier's daughter, Nicole Ross, who was five years old when her father's copter went down.

On a nearby panel, Lazarczyk found another name with special meaning for him. When 2nd Lt. John W. Sognier, Jr. was killed, his body was returned to the States by way of Ft. Stewart, Ga., where 2nd Lt. Lazarczyk led a burial detail. He remembers that Sognier's father, a judge, later wrote to thank the detail for their efforts.

Many of the people reading names during the ceremony had personal connections to those listed on the Wall.

Jesse Heier of Washington was honoring his uncle, Pfc. Victor Tomczyk of C Co., 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, who was killed in the battle for FSB Burt in early January, 1968.

Paul Stancliff, from Mercersburg, Pa., served in Vietnam with the Navy in 1967, patrolling the coast from the Mekong Delta to the DMZ.

Some of the readers were members of Sons and Daughters In Touch, a national organization of family members and friends of those whose names are on the Wall.

Different generations, different stories, but all brought together by a memorial whose 25th anniversary is being marked this week.

The reading of names will continue through Saturday, from 5 a.m. until midnight. A 25th anniversary parade will take place on Saturday in Washington, and Sunday will see the traditional Veterans Day remembrance at the Wall, with former Secretary of State and retired Gen. Colin Powell as keynote speaker.
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POSTED ON 8.15.2007
POSTED BY: John R. Lazarczyk

Not Statistics

On Tuesday, August 14, 2007 James D. Williamson, his UH-1D helicopter crewmates, Dennis C. Hamilton, Sheldon D. Schultz and Ernest F. Briggs, Jr. , as well as passenger John T. Gallagher were interred at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

These men were lost when they crashed in Laos on January 5, 1968 as a result of hostile fire. Listed as Missing-In-Action, it was 14,467 days (39 years, 7 months and 10 days) until they were finally laid to rest.

The Vietnam War cost this country 58,178 of our best and bravest. At the end of the Vietnam War, 2,646 of these heroes were unaccounted for. Since then the Department of Defense has recovered and repatriated the remains over 860 including these five.

Mssrs. Williamson, Hamilton, Schultz, Briggs and Gallagher are not statistics. They are sons, brothers, a husband, a father and relatives. Their families grieved for them before finally having some closure after all these years. We owe them their memory. It is our duty to keep the home fires burning so that their service and sacrifice is never forgotten and so we will know what we ask when we send our citizens off to war.

The burial ceremony at Arlington was a step in that direction. It began in the post chapel at Fort Myer which abuts Arlington. Approximately two hundred people including families, friends, comrades, and people dedicated to keeping the memory of our fallen alive were in attendance. There were also about 25 members of Rolling Thunder, the motorcycle riders composed of veterans. There were remarks by a chaplain and a priest who noted that August 14th was the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest who gave his life in order that another might live at the Auschwitz concentration camp during WWII.

The coffin containing the earthly remains of the five was then somberly moved to a caisson drawn by six horses guided by five soldiers. The military contingent accompanying these fallen to the gravesite included liaisons for each immediate family, eight pallbearers, an honor guard of approximately 20 soldiers, a band of approximately 20 military musicians, a seven man rifle squad, five bearers of tri-folded flags, a bugler and various leaders and support people.

The size of Arlington became apparent as the procession to the gravesite traveled a distance of over one mile within the grounds. At the gravesite there was a helicopter fly-over, additional remarks by the chaplain, the 21 gun salute, the playing of taps, the folding of the flag covering the coffin, presentation of folded flags to each immediate family and the last farewell. It was an appropriate recognition.
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POSTED ON 8.7.2007
POSTED BY: John R. Lazarczyk

A Miracle

I have just learned that the remains of SFC James D. Williamson and the four men who were with him have been recovered from Laos. The crew will be buried on August 14th, 2007 at Arlington National Cemetery.
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POSTED ON 8.6.2007
POSTED BY: CLAY MARSTON

FIVE MISSING IN ACTION SOLDIERS FROM VIETNAM WAR ARE FINALLY ACCOUNTED FOR AND RETURNED TO FAMILIES


NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense

No. 970-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE

06 August 2007

FIVE MISSING IN ACTION SOLDIERS FROM

VIETNAM WAR ARE FINALLY ACCOUNTED FOR

AND RETURNED TO THEIR FAMILIES

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that group remains of five U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, will be returned to their families soon for burial with full military honors.

They are -

Chief Warrant Officer
DENNIS CLARK HAMILTON
of Barnes City, Iowa

Chief Warrant Officer
SHELDON D. SCHULTZ
of Altoona, Pennsylvania

Sergeant 1st Class
ERNEST FRANK BRIGGS JR
of San Antonio, Texas

Sergeant 1st Class
JOHN THEODORE GALLAGHER
of Hamden, Connecticut

and

Sergeant 1st Class
JAMES D. WILLIAMSON
of Olympia, Washington

all of whom served in
the United States Army.

The group remains of this crew will be buried on 14 August at Arlington National Cemetery across the Memorial Bridge from Washington, D.C.

Gallagher's remains were individually identified, and his burial date is being set by his family.

Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.

On 5 January 1968, these men crewed a UH-1D HUEY helicopter that was inserting a patrol into Savannakhet Province, Laos.

As the aircraft approached the landing zone, it was struck by enemy ground fire, causing it to nose over and crash.

There were no survivors.

All attempts to reach the site over the next several days were repulsed by enemy fire.

Between 1995 and 2006, numerous U.S. / Lao People's Democratic Republic / Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams, all led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted more than five investigations, including interviews with Vietnamese citizens who said they witnessed the crash.

Between 2002 and 2006, JPAC led three excavations of the site, recovering remains and other material evidence including identification tags for Schultz, Hamilton and Briggs.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.


====================


WENT THE DAY WELL ?

" Went the day well ? We died, and never knew.
But, well or ill, Freedom, we died for you."



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POSTED ON 1.24.2006
POSTED BY: Bill Nelson

Never Forgotten

FOREVER REMEMBERED

"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you....and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.....Be not ashamed to say you loved them....
Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own....And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind...."

Quote from a letter home by Maj. Michael Davis O'Donnell
KIA 24 March 1970. Distinguished Flying Cross: Shot down and Killed while attempting to rescue 8 fellow soldiers surrounded by attacking enemy forces.

We Nam Brothers pause to give a backward glance, and post this remembrance to you, one of the gentle heroes lost to the War in Vietnam:

Slip off that pack. Set it down by the crooked trail. Drop your steel pot alongside. Shed those magazine-ladened bandoliers away from your sweat-soaked shirt. Lay that silent weapon down and step out of the heat. Feel the soothing cool breeze right down to your soul ... and rest forever in the shade of our love, brother.

From your Nam-Band-Of-Brothers

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