Sunday, April 14, 2013

Veteran has an amazing story

Joe Williams was drafted at 18.  When he and others arrived at Camp Croft in South Carolina, they were told to pick which service they wanted to enter.  He chose the Coast Guard, thinking that would mean he would stay closer to home and guard the east coast.  "I was wrong,” Williams said.
After boot camp, Williams went to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for amphibious training. He signed up to learn welding, a move that later would save his life.
“The ship I was eventually assigned to was the USS Bayfield,” Williams said, “a flagship – we always had all sorts of brass officers onboard.”
Williams took part in the training mission "Exercise Tiger" for the D-Day invasion that turned out to be a disaster. Many American lives were lost due to friendly fire and an German ambush.  The operation was sealed and never talked about for years.

The USS Bayfield also took part in the battle of Iwo Jima.
Williams has many stories about his tour during the war. “My friend on the ship played the mandolin, and we’d entertain with bluegrass in the mess hall on Friday nights,” said Williams, who played guitar. “When we were at Iwo Jima, he and I were to go ashore with another soldier. Officers stopped me from going at the last minute because our ship had taken a hit, and the resulting hole needed to be repaired by welding, and I was the welder.
“My good friend and the other soldier never made it back. To this day, I cry for him whenever I hear ‘Taps.’ ”
After the war, Joe eventually met his wife Faye.  In July, the couple will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

Read the entire article here:

Read more here:


Read more here: