Staff Sergeant Blaylock of Alma earned two Bronze Star Medals during World War II as a combat Medic. He is a Charter member of the National World War II museum, received the Bronze Leader award for service to disabled veterans, the Sertoma Service to Mankind award, and numerous Crawford county Rotary Club service awards.
Staff sergeant Blaylock was inducted into the US Army on August 13th, 1942 he was promoted from Private to First Sergeant and just four years and served two of those years overseas. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in connection with military operations against the enemy from June 17th, 1944 to March 18th, 1945 in France, Luxemburg, Belgium, and Germany.
He trained as a Hospital Administrator Specialist and was assigned to the 67th Evacuation Hospital. He climbed aboard the Queen Elizabeth on November 24th, 1943 and landed in Scotland 6 days later. After 7 months of training the 67th landed on Utah Beach 11 days after D-Day. As the French Hedgerows were virtually impenetrable. One of his jobs throughout the war was to assist in locating and setting up operations whenever the Infantry Division would move out. In one instance he was charged with staying back with 22 prisoners as he approached Bastogne to tend to them and assist in their treatment. All-22 survived and for that he was given a citation.
Staff sergeant Blaylock service in World War II was vital. 9 out of 10 soldiers lived if they could be seen by Medic in the first 15 minutes after being wounded. The many awards and medals he received is a testament to both his dedication and determination.
After leaving service Staff Sergeant Blalock continued to dedicate his life to helping others. He has served on many boards before his passing in 2017 despite the fact that he was over 90 years old. He has been the treasurer of the Crawford County 4-H foundation for over 30 years. He was a charter member of the National World War II Museum and a member of the Van Buren Rotary Club for over 50 years. He had also volunteered as an Auctioneer for many Charities such as the American Heart Association, American Cancer Association, Arkansas Children's Hospital, Kistler Center and the Fort Smith Art Association.
neral Conway of Walnut Ridge, 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. He retired as a Four Star General after 40 years of service starting in 1972. His many decorations include three awards of the Nation’s highest military service medal - the Defense Distinguished Service Medal. He commanded the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during two combat tours in Iraq.
Conway was born in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in St. Louis, Missouri and then attended Southeast Missouri State University, where he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, graduating in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. He was commissioned as an infantry officer in 1970.
Conway's first assignment was command of a rifle platoon with 3rd Battalion 1st Marines, based at Camp Pendleton. He also served as the battalion's 106mm recoilless rifle platoon commander. Later, he served as Marine detachment executive officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) and as commanding officer of the Sea School at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
After graduating with honors from the Army's Infantry Officers Advanced Course, Conway commanded two companies in the 2nd Marine Regiment's Operations and Security section. As a field grade officer, he commanded two companies of students and taught tactics at The Basic School. He then went on to serve as operations officer for the 31st Marine Amphibious Unit, with sea duty in the western Pacific and in contingency operations off Beirut, Lebanon.
Returning to the United States, Conway was assigned as Senior Aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for two years. After graduating from Marine Corps Command and Staff College with honors, he took command of 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines through its eight-month deployment to Southwest Asia during the Gulf War.
After the war, he was promoted to colonel and assigned command of The Basic School. Promoted to brigadier general in December 1995, he again was assigned to the Joint Chiefs and later served as President of the Marine Corps University. After being promoted to major general , he served as commander of the 1st Marine Division and as Deputy Commanding General of Marine Forces Central. He was promoted to lieutenant general and assumed command of I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) on November 16, 2002. He commanded I MEF during two combat tours in Iraq, with 60,000 troops under his command, including Marines, soldiers, sailors, and British forces. In the book The Iraq War, Conway was described as, "big, buff, well read and well educated ... he represented all that was best about the new United States Marine Corps, which General Al Gray as the commandant had set up.
On June 13, 2006, Conway was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps; the nomination was confirmed by the Senate on August 2, 2006. On November 13, Conway was promoted to the rank of general at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. and became the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps. He was the first Commandant in nearly 40 years to have not served in the Vietnam War.
LT. Colonel Fortner, deceased, of Benton flew 100 combat missions during the Korean War as a member of the Arkansas Air National Guard’s 154th Fighter Bomber Squadron where he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.
Lieutenant Colonel Fortner entered the US Army Air Corps flight training in May of 1943, he graduated from the program in November of 1944. After which, he served stateside as a fighter pilot until being discharged in October of 1945. He served in reserve status until October 1950, at which time he was recalled to active duty as a member of the Arkansas Air National Guard, 154th Fighter Bomber Squadron. He and his unit were sent to Langley Air Force Base for initial training and then to South Korea as part of the police action there.
While in South Korea, Lieutenant Colonel Fortner flew 100 combat sorties, accumulating 214 combat flying hours, and distinguished himself flying the F-84E aircraft. Of particular significance was his downing of an enemy MIG-15 aircraft, the only confirmed to downing of any pilot in the Arkansas Air National Guard during this action. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was also credited with damaging another MIG-15 aircraft. Also during his combat tour in South Korea, Lieutenant Colonel Fortner was awarded the Air Medal for his meritorious service in flying low-level missions against enemy troops and installations.
After his release from active duty and November of 1952, Lieutenant Colonel Fortner became a full-time employee of Arkansas Air National Guard at Adams Field, Little Rock, Arkansas. The 154th had been converted to a Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. He remained in this capacity until his departure in 1966. During this time, he served as a photo pilot, safety flight officer, communications officer, and operations officer. As a pilot he achieved the rating of Command Pilot with over 2,000 flying hours to his credit. On his retirement from the Arkansas Air National Guard, he became the chief pilot for T. J. Rainey Investments and later Stephens Investments in Little Rock. He also piloted, as a volunteer, Angel One, Arkansas Children's Hospital's first air transport system for critically ill infants and children.
Lieutenant Colonel Fortner earned the distinguished flying cross on 26th December 1951 the citation for that medal reads as follows:
On October 1951, Lieutenant Farris D Fortner displayed extraordinary achievement while performing an aerial flight. Fortner, while returning from a night reconnaissance mission as a member of a three ship flight of F-84E type aircraft, observed a number of enemy supply trucks and 7 tanks in a deep valley near Wonsan, North Korea. In marginal weather and poor visibility, Lieutenant Fortner made repeated attacks through a barrage of intense flak on the tanks and vehicles while the remainder of his flight orbited the area since their ammunition had been expended. The nature of the terrain and the position in which the tanks placed themselves necessitated superior pilotage on the part of Lieutenant Fortner in order to press home an effective attack. Through his flying ability, Lieutenant Fortner was credited with destroying one heavy tank, damaging another, and inflicting heavy damage on vehicles and gun emplacements in the area. Through his efforts, Lieutenant Fortner deprived the enemy of critically needed equipment supplies.
First Lieutenant Fincher, deceased, of Waldo earned four Air Medals as a B-17 Pilot during World War II. He was instrumental in preserving Arkansas World War II history through his volunteer work with the Arkansas Educational Television Network.
First Lieutenant John Thomas Fincher flew 30 combat missions as a B-17 bomber pilot with the 381st Bomb Group, 523rd Squadron during World War II. On his second mission he had an engine shut out over the enemy target and could not stay in formation. The Luftwaffe sent planes up to try and shoot down his plane, but he managed to make it back to base, barely above tree-top level. As pilot of a B-17 he commanded the crew, led squadron and flight in combat, kept flight records, and supervised maintenance of his aircraft. Adverse weather conditions required extensive instrumental flying.
After the war, Lieutenant Fincher returned home and pursued a degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas. Like so many who survived World War II, he went to work, married, attended church, and raised a family. Always unassuming, never expecting any kind of recognition or reward from his country that he so selflessly and heroically, he never expected to be in the Limelight. Lieutenant Fincher loved his country and considered it his duty and a privilege to serve the United States to the best of his ability.
in 2004 Lieutenant Fincher was chosen to be featured in the 90-minute documentary titled “ In Their Words: AETN’s World War II Oral History Project.”
Staff Sergeant Graves of Harrisburg earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and four awards of the Air Medal while serving in the Vietnam war as an Air Force C-123 Loadmaster.
Larry Graves enlisted in the regular United States Air Force on 22nd June 1966 for a period of 4 years. This was during the height of the Vietnam War in which many youth of his age were protesting the war, burning their draft cards, and some even relocating to Canada. His initial training was that of an Aircraft Loadmaster. Subsequently, he attended Aircraft Loadmaster Technical School, Survival Training Course, and the Pacific Jungle Survival School. His dedication and professionalism were attested to by his multiple awards of the Air Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, and last but not least the prestigious award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Staff Sergeant Larry R Graves was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross while serving in the Republic of Vietnam. The citation reads as follows: Staff Sergeant Larry R Graves distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a loadmaster near Phouc Vinh Air Base, Republic of Vietnam on 11 June 1969. On that date, Sergeant Graves’ aircraft was carrying highly explosive fuel vitally needed to support helicopter operations at a forward operating base when his aircraft was hit by ground fire. Damage to the aircraft necessitated an emergency landing and required that Sergeant Graves expeditiously offload his cargo and man a fire extinguisher to insure against aircraft fire. Sergeant Graves’ actions limited damage to his aircraft and exposure to injury to his crew. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Graves reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.includes what they do, how long they’ve been at it, and what got them to where they are.
First Lieutenant Griffen of Little Rock earned an Army Commendation Medal and Parachutist badge as a Field Artillery/ Race Relations Officer. He is a noted activist for social justice, Pastor, and Circuit Judge of the 5th Division, 6th Judicial District of Arkansas. He was the first person of color to become a partner in a major Arkansas law firm.
Judge Griffin grew up in rural Southwest Arkansas near Delight (Pike County), and attended racially segregated schools until 1965. He graduated from Delight High School in 1968 and from the University of Arkansas in 1973 ( Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, and Distinguished Military Graduate). After serving 3 years as an army officer, Griffin received an honorable discharge in 1976 and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for leading race relations and equal opportunity efforts within the 43rd General Support Group at Fort Carson, Colorado. In 1979, he received a degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1979 (Juris Doctorate), where he was Associate Editor of the Arkansas Law Review.
Since 1979, Judge Griffin has actively devoted himself to law, public policy, and Ministry. He was the first person of color to become an associate and later a partner in a major Arkansas Law Firm (Wright, Lindsay, and Jennings in Little Rock). For almost two years, he was chairman of the Arkansas Workers Compensation Commission by appointment of then Governor Bill Clinton. He pursued Seminary extension studies through Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and was ordained in May 1988 after being called to his first pastorate. From January 1996 to December 2008, he served as a Judge of the Arkansas court of appeals. Then Judge Griffin taught administrative law, constitutional law, criminal procedure, and a seminar he developed on Law and Cultural Competency as a visiting professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law before being elected Circuit Judge for the 6th Judicial District, 5th Division, in Arkansas, his current post. Judge Griffin has also consulted with Lawyers, Judges, Educators, and other professionals concerning cultural competence and inclusion through his private consulting practice, Griffin Strategic Consulting, PLLC..
Reverend/Judge Griffin has served as pastor of New Millennium Church since its Inception in May 2009. New Millennium Church (www.newmillenniumchurch.us) Define to itself as “ inclusive, Progressive, and welcoming followers of Jesus Christ” based on the belief that social justice is at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sergeant First Class Gunnels, deceased, of Magnolia served over 39 years in the Army and earned a Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds, and an Air Medal during the Vietnam War.
Drafted into the Army on December 3rd, 1970, SFC Mike W Gunnels, was honorably served in the United States Army for 39 years. From June 1971 to February 1972 he distinguished himself by his meritorious service in connection with the military operation against hostile forces in the Republic of Vietnam earning him a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and an Air Medal. But his military contributions did not stop there. While serving in the Louisiana Army National Guard SFC Gunnels has been a part of just about every state Aviation Mission of Emergency Operations since 1986 to include but not limited to Hurricane Andrew, Katrina, Gustav, and wildfires spanning from Louisiana to California. He has served multiple roles in multiple units doing whatever his country has asked of him. But no matter what role he is serving in, SFC Gunnels served it with distinction and always inspired younger soldiers with his devotion and can-do attitude.
On 14th July 2006, SFC Gunnels received the Louisiana Cross of Merit. for the following achievements Sergeant Gunnels participated in over two hundred and four hours of aerial flight over hurricane torn New Orleans in support of emergency relief and rescue operations, the proximity of downed power lines, damaged poles and trees, urban debris, fires, over 121 aircraft, and moving water added to the extremely hazardous conditions. He participated in moving 482 evacuees by air to safety and rescuing 140 for men, women, and children from flooded areas by using the high-performance rescue hoist. He participated in several support missions delivering food and water to victims of the disaster. He operated the high-performance hoist to precisely place the flight medic on roofs, on vehicles and between hazards to rescue individuals; without once placing the flight medics in the water or in harm's way.
The citation reads as follows: For exceptionally meritorious achievement while participating in aerial medical evacuation and rescue operations in hurricane ravaged urban areas of New Orleans, Louisiana between 30 August 2005 through 05 September 2005. Staff Sergeant Gunnels consistently performed his duties with distinction without regard to the hazardous conditions. As a crew chief, Sergeant Gunnels performed his hoist skills and crew member duties without hesitation and with superior airmanship. Sergeant Gunnels’ loyalty, diligence, and devotion to duty and mission reflect great credit upon himself, that 812th Medical Company, the Louisiana National Guard, and the United States Army.
Tech Sergeant Hendricks, deceased, of Little Rock flew 49 combat missions in Europe and 50 combat missions in the Pacific during World War II as a B-24 Gunner and Aerial Photographer. His decorations include the Silver Star Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds and eight awards of the Air Medal.
Tech Sergeant Hendricks enlisted in the Army National Guard on August 3, 1940 just before his senior year at Little Rock High School. He was called to active duty before completing his senior year to begin training as an Aerial Photographer/Gunner on the B-24 Liberator. Upon completion of training, he volunteered for deployment overseas. As an Aerial Photographer he had the dangerous job of hanging from the rear of the plane to take photos of bombed targets to be used for bomb damage assessment which enabled rapid bombing accuracy for follow-on missions.
When the war ended in Europe and he had fully recovered from wounds sustained during one of his missions he volunteered to redeploy to the Pacific Theater. He flew 49 combat missions in the Europe-Africa-Middle East theater and 50 missions in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. After the war ended in the Pacific, Tech Sergeant Hendricks returned to Little Rock where he met and married his wife.
For his actions Technical Sergeant Hendricks received the distinguished flying cross. The citation reads as follows: Sergeant Sterling T. Hendricks distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an Aerial Photographer Gunner, 98th Bombardment Group, European Theater of Operation, on 20 March 1944. To record his squadrons bomb hits on enemy targets, Sergeant Hendrix not only had to ensure his camera was properly mounted, loaded, and operational, but he had to carry on precise activities at high altitudes wearing an oxygen mask, under conditions of extreme cold in an unheated aircraft and in constant danger of heavy, accurate enemy anti-aircraft fire by 88 millimeter and large guns. His photographs enabled rapid bombing accuracy and damage assessment analysis and saved the cost in lives and aircraft that might have been lost in retargeting objectives. The professional competence, ariel skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Hendricks reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Captain Kindley, deceased, of Gravette earned two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary heroism in 1918 during World War I and ranked 3rd in the number of enemy aircraft downed with 12 confirmed kills. Arkansas’s only Air Ace of World War I.
Field Kindley was born on March 13th, 1896 in a rural area near Pea Ridge Arkansas. After High School graduation, Kindley had several jobs before settling in Coffeyville Kansas, to become a Movie Theater Manager. He later enlisted in the state's National Guard. Kindley transferred to the aviation branch of the Army Signal Corps and was among the first class of American Pilots sent from Ground School to England for Flight Training on September 1917.
In July 1918, the Americans formed the 148th Squadron, which was assigned to serve in the British sector with the RFC's 65th Wing near Albert, France. Kindley was one of the first Pilots posted to the new unit. On July 13th, Kindley earned the 148th’s first victory by shooting down a German Albatross D-3 over Ypres. The downing earned Kindley brief celebrity status at the British front, and he soon became the commanding officer of the 148th.
Later promoted to Captain on February 24th 1919, Kindley’s 12 confirmed kills ranked him third in aircraft shot down during the war by Air Corps personnel. Kindley’s most memorable day of combat was September 27, 1918. Kindley began the sortie by dropping four small bombs on a group of German transports. Climbing from the attack, he destroyed an Observation Balloon and then strafed a German Infantry column that had pinned down a British unit. Another strafing run on a German machine-gun emplacement drew an attack upon his Sopwith from a German Halberstadt. Kindley wheeled right to destroy the Halberstadt for his 11th kill. He continued to strafe German Infantry until out of ammunition returning to his home base at Baizieux, Kindley noticed two Germans attacking an Allied plane. He jumped into the dogfight without ammunition in hopes of scaring off the two Fokker Biplanes. The bluff work. For this furious period of just over two hours of combat, Kindley earned his Oak Cluster and the British Distinguished Flying Cross. His final action came on October 28th with his twelve kill, a Fokker near Bapaume, France.
After the war, Kindley was posted through a succession of squadrons in Europe and then Stateside in the New York area, including occasional public relations duty. He received his last post on December 17, 1919, as the Commanding Officer of the 94th Aero Squadron, made famous by Rickenbacker during the war, at Kelly Field near San Antonio, Texas. His final assignment was a flight demonstration of SE-5 Biplanes for General John J Pershing in early February 1920. On February 1st, the day before Persians visit, Kindley rehearsed the simulated bombing run. Diving into his target, he discovered a group of enlisted men that had wandered into the area. In an attempt to avoid the troops, he pulled back on the stick, resulting in an engine stall and failure of critical support wires in the wing. The SE-5 fell from an altitude of almost 100 feet killing Kindley. Kindley's body was returned to Gravette for burial; several monuments remain to the World War I Flying Ace. Gravitz City Park, a Coffeyville High School, and a World War II Air Base in Bermuda were all named for him.
Master Sergeant Major of Alma earned the Bronze Star Medal for valor during the first Gulf War (Desert Storm) as an Army Combat Medic. He also received four awards of the Meritorious Service Medal during his 20 years career in the Army.
During Operation Desert Storm in February 1991, he was cited for bravery during the ground phase of that first Gulf War. As a Frontline Medic assigned to the 1st Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division (Big Red 1). On the night of February 27th, 1991, his unit was engaging the enemy while moving through the desert during low visibility and bad weather conditions. He was inside his ambulance converted armored personnel carrier just behind the M1 Tanks in what he described as a wedge formation when an urgent call came over the radio for Medics. One of the armored Bradley Fighting Vehicles in his unit had been hit and there were casualties. Without regard for himself and while under enemy fire and in a heavily land-minded area, he helped treat five injured Scouts, some with life-threatening wounds. Once stabilized, he and his partner evacuated the wounded soldiers to an aid station further behind the unit's formation. After this was accomplished, he rejoined his unit forward and continued on with a mission. Later on, the unit learned that those Wounded Warriors had all survived and were being treated at a field hospital near the rear. The company commander of B Company praised him and his partner for what they had done.
For that action he was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor. The citation reads as follows: The Bronze Star Medal for Heroism in support of combat operations on 27 February 1991. While serving as a Combat Medic, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion 34th Armor, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized). While under enemy fire his heroic action and courage were key to the flawless execution of the unit's mission, the destruction of Iraqi Ground Forces and the liberation of Kuwait. Specialist Major’s unwavering courage and confidence were in keeping with the proudest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division and the United States Army.
LT. Colonel Pylant , deceased, of Jonesboro earned the Bronze Star Medal for service during the Vietnam War. He served over 34 years in the Arkansas National Guard and with the National Guard Bureau. He was a lifetime member of American Legion, VFW, and Disabled Veterans of America as well as a noted leader in Craighead county Veterans issues.
Lieutenant Colonel Pylant was born and raised in Arkansas. He attended school at Arkansas State University and served honorably for 34 and 1/2 years with Arkansas National Guard and other various units as both an enlisted member and then an officer.
As a military member Lieutenant Pylant's record is supreme. He enlisted as a private and 1960 with the 875th Engineering Battalion in Jonesboro and shortly thereafter became an officer. He spent some time on active duty to include a tour of duty in Vietnam where he served as an Engineer Advisor, a Platoon Leader, and Company Commander. Lieutenant Colonel Pylant earned a master's degree from Webster University and completed several military schools including the Fort Leavenworth Command and General Staff College. He served three tours of Duty at the Pentagon ultimately as the National Guard Bureau’s Director of Quality Management, managing the training for over 400,000 soldiers. Lieutenant Colonel Pylant retired from the Army in 1994.
Not only did he serve his State and Nation with distinction through his military service, Lieutenant Colonel Pylant equally loved and served his community in many ways. He was an active member of the local American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the disabled American veterans, and the Military Officers Association of America. He also served as the former president of the Jonesboro Jaycees and was a member of the University Heights Lions Club.
LT. Colonel Sidebottom of Hot Springs served multiple tours in Vietnam earning the Silver Star Medal for gallantry, four awards of the Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds and four awards of the Meritorious Service Medal during his Army career.
The Vietnam era was a traumatic time in our history, during which our nation was torn apart by the war. While attending Arkansas Tech College Lieutenant Colonel Sidebottom sought out a ROTC military commission to serve the nation, graduating as a Distinguished Military Graduate. Following graduation from Tech and attending US Army Armor Officer Basic Course he volunteered for Vietnam. Once there, he actively sought and assignment in the 11th ACR, where he had the honor of leading troops in combat. During his first tour to Vietnam, he was awarded four Purple Hearts, The Silver Star, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Returning stateside, he applied to flight school where upon graduation he again volunteered for Vietnam, flying CH-47 Chinooks in the 101st Airborne Division. Operating in I Corps where he supported combat operations near South and North Vietnam borders and into Laos.
Lieutenant Colonel side bottom was awarded the Silver Star on 16th February 1970. The Narrative for that award reads as follows: First Lieutenant Sidebottom distinguished himself by gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force, on 17th February 1969 while serving as a Platoon Leader with Troop F, 2nd Squadron, 11th armored Cavalry Regiment, in the Republic of Vietnam. On this date his Troops swept through an enemy base camp without meeting any resistance. As he led a dismounted element in a search of the enemy bunkers, the small force was suddenly hit by small-arms, automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire, seriously wounding several friendly troops. As he directed his men back to their armored vehicles, he noticed that one of his men could not walk because of leg wounds. Disregarding the hostile fire, Lieutenant Sidebottom carried the casualty to a medic. After calling for artillery and gunship strikes, he returned to the contact area and discovered the two more casualties, whom he evacuated to safety. Upon learning that three more men were still deep in the camp, Lieutenant Sidebottom raced back into the contested area. Suddenly several grenades exploded nearby, seriously wounding him in the back. Despite his wounds he helped three men, including one wounded man, back to the safety of the armored vehicles. He then called in evacuation helicopters and adjusted artillery fire and air strikes on the enemy base camp. First Lieutenant Sidebottom’s actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
Lieutenant Colonel Sidebottom has states “as a native of Arkansas have actively sought opportunities to serve our nation during times of Crisis. Seeking to serve during the Vietnam era was not the norm. But in 1776 my forefathers established the standard for service to our Nation I felt it my duty and honor to continue serving.”
Colonel Williams of Harrisburg served over three decades as an Army Special Forces Officer including combat tours in Iraq and Somalia. Decorations include two awards of the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, four awards of the Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds.
Colonel Williams was born and raised in Harrisburg, Arkansas. graduating from Harrisburg High School in May 1979. He entered active duty as an Armor Scout, at Fort Knox Kentucky in June 1979. Following his initial assignment with the 1-4 Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division in Europe, Colonel Williams enrolled in the ROTC program at Arkansas State University, where he was mentored by Arkansas veteran Hall of Fame member Colonel Jerry Bowen and was commissioned as an Infantry Second Lieutenant in September, 1984.
Colonel Williams served as an Infantry Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer in Headquarters Company, Allied Command Europe Mobile Force and as an Anti-Tank Platoon Leader in 4-8 Infantry, 8th Infantry Division. Following Special Forces selection and the qualification course, his initial Special Forces assignments were as the Detachment Commander of ODA 526 and the Operations Officer for 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) (5th SFG(A)) during which he served in Desert Shield, Desert Storm and in Somalia. He was then stationed at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana, where he served as an ODA, and ODB and OPCEN Observer/Controller, Plans Officer and as the Chief, SOF Plans.
Returning to the 5th Special Forces Group (A) Colonel Williams served as the 2nd Battalion Executive Officer and commanded A Company, 2nd Battalion. He served as a Joint Plans Officer at Allied Forces North Europe in Brunssum, Netherlands. Following his NATO assignment, Colonel Williams commanded the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group in Operation Iraqi Freedom and subsequently served as the 5th Special Forces Group Deputy Commander which included serving as the CJSOTF-AP Chief of Staff in Iraq. After serving as the Director of Operations, Special Operations Command Central for 2 years, Colonel William commanded the 72nd Field Artillery Brigade at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Immediately prior to his final military assignment as the Defense Coordinating Officer supporting FEMA Region III Colonel Williams was the USF-I Chief of Training and Commandant of the Stability Academy at Camp Victory, Iraq
Colonel Williams was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal. The citation reads as follows: Colonel Timothy R. Williams, United States Army, distinguished himself by exceptionally superior service while serving as Region III Defense Coordinating Officer, United States Army North, Washington, District of Columbia, from September 2011 to October 2014. During this period, the outstanding leadership and ceaseless effort of Colonel Williams resulted in major contributions to the effectiveness and success of the Department of Defense and Defense support of Civil Authorities. Colonel Williams. demonstrated singular leadership, renowned technical expertise, and unwavering dedication to duty and Country. Working side-by-side with the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other key agencies at both the national and state levels, his expertise was key to United States Northern Command execution of actual missions and planned exercises . Colonel Williams’ unswerving commitment to the service of our nation is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Colonel Williams culminated a long and distinguished career in the service of his country and reflect great credit upon himself, the United States Army, and the Department of Defense