Michael Walter Williams
Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
Artesia, California
February 09, 1949 to May 22, 1968
MICHAEL W WILLIAMS is on the Wall at Panel 66E, Line 4

Combat Action Ribbon

07 Sep 2004

"To live in the hearts we leave behind,
is never to have died."
(Thomas Campbell, circa 1888)


A Note from The Virtual Wall

An early-morning patrol by India Company, 3/3 Marines, came across a company-sized NVA unit near the destroyed hamlet of Lao Son near Con Thien. Some of the NVA soldiers were still sleeping, others were going about their morning routine - and all were disturbed when India 3/3 attacked their encampment. It was soon clear that India needed reinforcements, and the CG 3rd MarDiv undertook to provide them. Lima 3/3 was sent to help India, which was attacking to the south, and the 1/4 Marines were directed to send two companies with tank support eastward along the trace to take the NVA units from their rear. Elements of the 1/9 and 3/9 Marines were directed to establish blocking positions to east and west of the engagement in order to cordon the area.

The 1/4 Operations Log for 22 May says the 1/4 contingent departed 1245, with Bravo 1/4 and a tank element in the lead and Alpha 1/4 in trace. A deliberate engagement by Bravo 1/4 began at 1610; Alpha moved to assist. The NVA, caught between 1/4 to the south and 3/3 to the north, seemed to become confused and lost heavily to supporting air and artillery fires - but they didn't stop fighting.

At nightfall the two 1/4 companies withdrew slightly and established an NDP. At that point Alpha 1/4 had 2 KIA and 7 WIA; Bravo 12 KIA (6 known KIAs could not be recovered on the 22nd), 19 WIA, and 2 MIA. The 3/3 elements had fared better; India 3/3 lost two men killed, while both India and Lima had a number of wounded.

Both elements resumed the assault on 23 May. The 1/4 Marines encountered little resistance and had only 5 WIA. Alpha 1/4 was able to find and recover the bodies of the 8 members of Bravo not recovered on the 22nd (6 KIA, 2 MIA). The NVA repeatedly were caught in the open and supporting arms fires took a heavy toll. Most of the surviving NVA were moving north in an effort to gain sanctuary in the Demilitarized Zone a few kilometers away - but had to evade the 3/3 Marines, who were still moving south. By late afternoon the area was cleared of live NVA, but 3/3 had lost seven more men.

Although 1/9 and 3/9 established blocking positions as ordered they were not actively involved in the engagements and suffered no KIAs/DoWs.

Several hundred NVA bodies were strewn over the area, most killed by air and artillery fires, and a wealth of equipment and supplies was captured - but the two-pronged attack had cost the lives of 25 Marines:

  • 3rd Bn, 3rd Marines - Lao Son 22-23 May:
    • Cpl Benjamin H. Reid, Atlanta, GA, India 3/3
    • LCpl John H. Halman, Ashtabula, OH, India 3/3
    • LCpl Russell U. West, Orange, CA, India 3/3
    • LCpl Leonardo Ramos, San Antonio, TX, Lima 3/3
    • LCpl Kenneth C. Shemory, Mifflinburg, PA, Lima 3/3
    • Pfc Michael W. Williams, Artesia, CA, India 3/3
    • Pfc David E. Gore, Manteca, CA, H&S Co
    • Pfc James R. Corder, Wolf Summit, WV, India 3/3
    • Pvt Ralph B. Fecteau, Cornish, NH, India 3/3

  • 1st Bn, 4th Marines - An Dinh, 22 May:
    • Capt Robert E. Harris, Russell, KY, Bravo 1/4
    • 1stLt Victor D. Westphall, Albuquerque, NM, Bravo 1/4
    • SSgt Edmund J. Kelly, Wilson, NC, Alpha 1/4
    • Sgt Roger W. Boyd, Decatur, IL, Bravo 1/4
    • LCpl Denver J. Berkheimer, Streetsboro, OH, Bravo 1/4
    • LCpl Rolando Hernandez, Corpus Christi, TX, Bravo 1/4
    • LCpl Charles S. Kirkland, Kennett, MO, Bravo 1/4
    • LCpl Duane F. Horgan, Lakewood, CO, H&S 1/4 (with Bravo)
    • Pfc Davis F. Brown, Winter Park, FL, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc Carlos A. De La Hoz, Yonkers, NY, Alpha 1/4
    • Pfc Alejandro Diaz, New York, NY, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc William B. Hamacher, Gloucester, NJ, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc Clyde R. Hamby, Hayward, CA, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc James E. Joshua, Gadsden, AL, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc Raymond B. Ralls, Philadelphia, PA, Bravo 1/4
    • Pfc Ray Williams, Atlanta, GA

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