James Daniel Williamson

Sergeant First Class
Army of the United States
24 September 1942 - 27 November 1978
Tumwater, Washington
Panel 33E Line 054


Army Aircrew

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for James Daniel Williamson

09 Aug 2007

I wore a MIA bracelet for SFC Williamson for many years. I actually wore through the "silver" coating to the base metal underneath. That bracelet has been on a branch of a cherry tree at my parent's home for the last thirty years or so. That tree has always symbolized SFC Williamson for me. My parents have passed away and the house has been sold. I pointed out the bracelet to the new owners. I also have a second bracelet for SFC Williamson which I wore after the first one wore out. I have that bracelet in a box with my "stuff" from Vietnam. I am a Vietnam veteran, non-combat arms (Petroleum Supply)with service at Cam Ranh Bay and II Corps from July 68 to July 69.

The remains of James D. Williamson and his helicopter crewmates, Dennis C. Hamilton, Sheldon D. Schultz and Ernest F. Briggs were recovered from Laos and repatriated. They will be buried together at Arlington National Cemetery on August 14, 2007.

Also recovered was Green Beret John T. Gallagher, a passenger, who will be interred in Connecticut.

I will not forget their service.

John R. Lazarczyk

20 Aug 2007

Not Statistics

I wore his MIA bracelet.

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

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.

John R. Lazarczyk
501 Leisure Way, Shepherdstown, W V 25443

25 Nov 2007

I, like many others, wore an MIA/POW bracelet with the name James D Williamson. I wore the first bracelet out, or at least to the point that the metal was so sharp it cut my arm. I ordered another one and wore it until his status changed in 1978. It is still in the bottom drawer of my jewelry box.

Jim, or as he was know to family and friends, Willie, was my former brother in law and always will carry a most special place in my heart as a friend, member of my family and father of my dear niece.

This past Thanksgiving weekend I viewed old movies showing Willie, his parents and dear daughter Nicole. It was remarkable to see his smile frozen in time and to know that he gave the ultimate price, his life, for our country. He missed watching his Nicole grow up into a beautiful, successful woman, wife and mother. He missed knowing his granddaughter and grandson. He missed knowing my sons as grown adults and meeting my youngest son who was named after him.

Our job as survivors is to never forget what he and others did in Viet Nam!!! and to enjoy each of his precious family in honor of him. I have always been proud of him and always will and thank everyone who share my feelings.

From his former sister in law,
Nancy Slater
Seattle, Wa 98199

23 Jan 2008

I have worn Jim's MIA bracelet since 1992. There was a POW/MIA dedication to the Living Memorial located at the Bonney Watson/Washington Memorial in Federal Way. One of many speakers was Monica Jensen-Stevenson (forgive me if the spelling is incorrect for this was some time ago).

During this dedication is when I purchased the bracelet. I guess the only reason I chose SFC James D. Williamson's bracelet is because he was from the US Army and the fact that he was from Washington.

I was overwhelmed while sitting down eating supper when on the news they mentioned that the remains of a soldier had been returned. The newscaster stated that he was from Olympia, Washington and they said his name. At first, I sort of ignored the news then the mentioning of his name struck a nerve. I had heard that name before, and I looked down on my right wrist, held the bracelet up to the light, and there was the name.

I didn't know what to do, or say, at that given moment. I was overjoyed, to say the least, that he was been found after 39 1/2 years.

I asked, and received, unprecedented help from the local King5 TV staff on locating his daughter, Nicole. After receiving her e-mail and contacting her, I asked if she would like for the return of the bracelet. She replied, you may, but if you wish to continue wearing it in his memory, that would be great. I thanked her because I would feel naked not having the bracelet on my right hand. To this day, 1-21-08, I still wear it.

Bruce W. Mcintyre

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 05 Jan 1968 the 176th Assault Helicopter Company was tasked with inserting a recon unit into Laos, near Muong Nong village some, 41 kilometers south-southwest of the Khe Sanh Combat Base. As the aircraft approached the insertion point it was hit by 37mm anti-aircraft fire, crashed, and burned. Five Americans and an unknown number of Vietnamese recon troops died in the crash. The area was too "hot" to insert ground troops, and aerial observation of the wreckage seemed to make it clear that the crash was not survivable. Never the less, the five Americans were classed as Missing in Action and carried in that status until the Secretary of the Army approved Presumptive Findings of Death on the dates given below:
  • Aircrew, UH-1D tail number 66-01172, 176th AHC:
    • CWO Dennis C. Hamilton, Barnes City, IA (01/08/1979)
    • CWO Sheldon D. Schultz, Altoona, PA (04/02/1979)
    • SFC Ernest F. Briggs, Devine, TX (04/03/1978)
    • SFC James D. Williamson, Tumwater, WA (11/27/1978)

  • Recon Team leader, CCN, MACV-SOG, 5th SF Group
    • SFC John T. Gallagher, Hamden, CT (05/30/1978)
On 06 August 2007 the recovery and identification of the remains of the five men was publicly announced. Funeral services for all five were conducted at Arlington National Cemetery, where four of the men will be buried, on 14 August 2007. Sergeant First Class Gallagher's individually identifiable remains will be buried beside his mother's grave in Centerville Cemetery, Hamden, Connecticutt, where a memorial marker has previously stood.

Arlington National Cemetery
FUNERAL SCHEDULE FOR Tuesday August 14, 2007
Please report to origin 1/2 hour prior to start time


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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 09 Aug 2007
Last updated 08/10/2009