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Henrico County Historical Society's motto, which is Preserving the Past in the Present for the FutureSkipwith Academy in Three Chopt District, Henrico County, Virginia.Log Cabin in Tuckahoe District, Henrico County, Virginia.Mankin Mansion in Fairfield District, Henrico County, Virginia.Dorey Barn in Varina District, Henrico County, Virginia.Bethlehem Church in Brookland District, Henrico County, Virginia.


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Oral History - Welford Lloyd Williams - Bronze Star

Welford Lloyd Williams

Welford Lloyd Williams attired in U.S. Army uniform, 1940s.

Welford Williams, after being inducted April 14, 1943, with active duty beginning on April 21st, served in the 3393 Quarter Master Truck Company of the U.S. Army during World War II. First arriving at Liverpool, England on May 18, 1944, his unit landed on Omaha Beach (Normandy) July 6, 1944. By wars end his outfit had been in many areas of France, Belgium and the Country of Luxembourg.

Mr. Williams wrote, “Who could ever forget the German Buzz-bombs that hit so close to areas we traveled and rested.” During his service he guarded prisoners and drove on the Red Ball Express (convoy) supplying troops. Mr. Williams describes the Red Ball Express as having a direct road to the troops in order to get supplies to the lines in a hurry when needed. One of his wartime experiences involved flipping one of the vehicles used to deliver supplies.

Upon discharge, Dec. 26, 1945, he had earned the American Theater Service Medal with 5 bronze stars; Victory and Good Conduct Medals. He was also awarded a Drivers Badge and Marksmanship on weapons: 03,M1, carbine, hand grenade, bazooka, and 30 caliber machine gun.

After the war Mr. Williams married Willie Mae Love and had a family of 8 children. He retired from the US Postal Service, and in later years worked as a guard at the Henrico County Government Center. Mr. Williams currently serves as Director of the Fairfield District for the Henrico County Historical Society.


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The History of the Bronze Star Medal

Bronze Star Medal.

The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration which may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. When awarded for bravery, it is the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces and the 9th highest military award (including both combat and non combat awards) in the order of precedence of U.S. military decorations. (Note: When awarded for valor it is accompanied with an attached V. When awarded for meritorious service it does not have the valor component.)

The award that eventually became the Bronze Star Medal was conceived by Colonel Russel P. “Red” Reeder in 1943, who believed it would aid morale if there was a medal which could be awarded by captains of companies or batteries to deserving people serving under them. Reeder felt the medal should be a ground equivalent of the Air Medal, and proposed that the new award be called the “Ground Medal”.

The idea eventually rose through the military bureaucracy and gained supporters. General George C. Marshall, in a memorandum to President Franklin D. Roosevelt dated 3 February 1944, wrote, “The fact that the ground troops, Infantry in particular, lead miserable lives of extreme discomfort and are the ones who must close in personal combat with the enemy, makes the maintenance of their morale of great importance. The award of the Air Medal have had an adverse reaction on the ground troops, particularly the Infantry Riflemen who are now suffering the heaviest losses, air or ground, in the Army, and enduring the greatest hardships.”

The Air Medal had been adopted two years earlier to raise airmen's morale. President Roosevelt authorized the Bronze Star Medal by Executive Order 9419 dated 4 February 1944, retroactive to 7 December 1941. This authorization was announced in War Department Bulletin No. 3, dated 10 February 1944.

(Reprinted in part from Wikopedia Website)


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Oral History Sites: Welford Lloyd Williams - Bronze Star
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