Page last updated: 26 May, 2023


Famous Crew Who Served On
The U.S.S. Little Rock

The crew members listed below are those who have distinguished themselves in some unique way during or after their tours of duty on the U.S.S. Little Rock. If you know of someone who both served on the Little Rock and who has earned notoriety in a positive sense, please submit their name and your reason for nominating your choice to the web coordinator.


Who Where These "Famous Crew Members"?

ET2 Joseph E. Banks III
Pictured (L to R), standing, are: Commissioner Brad Jackson, Banks and County Veterans Affairs Officer Rich Maron; in back on the television screen is Commissioner Cary Groninger. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.

Joseph E. Banks III

David Stone - Staff Writer
Times Union Online
Kosciusko County, IN
January 19, 2021

January 2021 Kosciusko County Veteran of the Month is Joseph E. Banks III, who served his country for 26 years.

Joe was born June 7, 1939, to Joseph and Anna Banks in Cleveland, Ohio. His brother, Ernest, died at 58, according to County Veterans Affairs Officer Rich Maron.

Banks graduated from John Adams High School in Cleveland in 1958 and then finished an electronics program at DeVry Tech in Chicago in 1957.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December 1957. He was sent to U.S. Naval Training Center at Great Lakes for boot camp and electronics school.

Naval orders put him on a consecutive series of three heavy cruisers, starting in 1959. They were the USS Northampton, USS Little Rock and the USS Boston. These ships were heavy cruisers serving under the Cruiser Forces Atlantic. Their assignment was to protect America's east coast against air and sea invasion.

Bank's task on these ships was to service a 300-mile air search radar. He did his service to the utmost of his abilities with diligence and pride, Maron said.

Banks was honorably discharged on board the USS Boston in Boston, Mass., in May 1962.

He married Constance Banks in September 1962 and they had two sons and a daughter.

Banks would then go on to join the Naval Reserve unit in Cleveland on Dec. 15, 1964. His job was to instruct new naval enlistees in basic electronics. He would perform that duty for six years and be honorably discharged from the Reserves on Dec. 14, 1970.

He would go on to graduate from Cleveland State University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in political science and basic business. This led to his employment with the White Motor Corporation until the specter of bankruptcy began to loom large, Maron said.

Banks decided to take a job with Zimmer Inc. in February 1980 and White went bankrupt in August 1980.

His family made the move to Warsaw to work for Zimmer in 1980.

Banks would then join the Air National Guard (then the 122nd Fighter Wing) out of Fort Wayne in 1982 and serve as the non-commissioned officer in charge of safety.

He worked with senior officers of the Wing command to ensure the Fighter Wings compliance with the Air Force Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (AFOSH).

He was promoted to master sergeant in 1994 and would begin his next assignment as the Wing Command's first sergeant in 1994.

In 1996, Banks finally retired with 26 years of service.

Asked by Maron if there was anything he'd like to say, Banks declined and then said, "Thank you very much."

Frank Cladwell 1945
Frank Caldwell 1945

Frank Caldwell Now
Frank Caldwell 2014

Navy Cross Medal
Navy Cross Medal

Captain Frank C. Caldwell USMC

Frank C. Caldwell, Col., USMC (ret.) was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He attended Davidson College, and joined the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA in 1942. He finished Marine Parachute School at Camp Lejeune, NC, and was assigned to the 1st Marine Parachute Battalion. He was assigned to the Pacific Theater in New Caledonia where he served as a Platoon leader, Executive Officer and Company Comander of "A" Company, Parachute Battalion. He saw combat action against the Japanese on Guadalcanal, Vella La Vella and Bougainville, in the British Solomon Islands.

After the Parachute Battalions were deactivated, he was assigned to join the 5th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA, having been promoted to Captain and Commanding Officer of "F" Company, 26th Marines, 2nd Battalion (George Wahlen's unit).

His unit landed on Iwo Jima on D-Day, February 19, 1945. For a single battle, his unit suffered the highest killed-in-action rate of any Marine Company in U.S. history. Near the end of the campaign, he continued to fight with no officers, and very few Sergeants remaining. He was one of, if not the only Company Commander to endure the entire Iwo Jima campaign without being killed or evacuated. For his efforts on Iwo Jima, he was decorated with the Navy Cross and Purple Heart.

During peacetime, he served at Marine Barrack, Navy Air Base in Glynco, GA, then spent two years as Marine Detachment Commanding Officer on the U.S.S. Little Rock CL 92 1946-48. He spent three years with the Testing and Educational Unit at Quantico, VA, and two years as a Marine Officer/Instructor for the N.R.O.T.C. Unit at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC.

He served in Korea in 1953-54 as an Executive Officer for the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. In 1954-55, he served at the Advanced Infantry Officer School at Fort Benning, GA. From 1955-1958, he was assigned as a Marine Officer/Instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He attended Senior School in Quantico, VA from 1958-59, and then became an instructor there until 1962.

He was assigned to the Operations Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters Marine Corps from 1962-63, then became Director of Marine Corps History from 1963-1973, when he retired with the rank of Colonel. He received the following decorations, medals, badges, commendations, citations and campaign ribbons: Navy Cross, Legion of Merit, Navy Commendation, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/4 stars, WWII Victory Meal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, Korean Service Medal w/1 star, U.N. Service Medal, Korean P.U.C., Navy and Marine Corps Parachute Insignia, National Defense Service Medal 2nd Award, Navy Unit Citation, Republic of Korea, War Service Medal (K.W.S.M.)

Col. Frank Crosland Caldwell died on 03 June 2015, in Newport, RI, at the age of 94, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington County, Virginia, Section 57.

The above is from "Where Are They Now", a website devoted to the men mentioned in the book: "The Quiet Hero" the story of Medal of Honor Medal recipient George E. Wahlen, written by Gary W. Toyn.

Navy Cross Citation


The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Frank C. Caldwell (0-11328), Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of Company F, Second Battalion, Twenty-Sixth Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, from 19 February to 16 March 1945. When his company encountered heavy opposition from Japanese forces entrenched in a network of caves on 26 February, Captain Caldwell skillfully organized and coordinated his attack over most difficult terrain, exposing himself to heavy enemy fire to insure the execution of his mission. Again, on 3 March, he led his company in a six hundred yard advance under heavy fire which inflicted extremely high casualties among his men. When his platoon leaders became casualties and the platoons became disorganized, he personally organized and maintained contact in his units despite hostile fire, and with unflagging determination and courage, inspired his men to hold the objective. By his indomitable fighting spirit throughout the operation, Captain Caldwell contributed materially to the success of his company. His devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

SPOT AWARD, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific: Serial 44532 Signed February 10, 1948

LTJG Donald Droz

LT Donald G. Droz

Donald Glenn Droz was born in Rich Hill, MO on 29 September 1943. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1966.

LTJG Donald G. Droz was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Little Rock CLG 4 in 1967 -1968. He was a member of the ship's Navigation Division.

LTJG Droz was born in Rich Hill, MO 29 Sep 1943. While in Vietnam he was OinC of Patrol Craft PCF-43, assigned to COSDIV-11, TF-115, USNAVFORV.

The following is extracted from "The Death Of PCF 43" by LTJG Peter N. Upton:

"Between the hours of 1800-1900, 12 April 1969, at a well camouflaged sector along the narrow Duong Keo, southernmost in South Vietnam's vast system of navigable waterways, U.S. Navy PCF's ("swiftboats") then supporting Vietnamese Marine river operations under the aegis of SEALORDS incurred their most devastating and demoralizing setback to date. A well-planned and perfectly executed Viet Cong heavy weapons ambush inflicted heavy material damage to every swiftboat unit involved in the action and accounted for thirty-nine wounded in action, many seriously and requiring immediate medical evacuation. Vietnamese Marine casualties were of equal severity.

One of the eight boats involved, PCF 43, was totally destroyed during the encounter. Its mangled, blackened carcass still rests on the ambush site, a somewhat grotesque testament and sepulcher to the forlorn events of that bitter hour. Of her seventeen embarked Navymen, including ten members of Underwater Demolition Team THIRTEEN Detachment GOLF and one SEALORDS staff officer, two were killed: LTJG Don Droz, the boat OIC, and HMC Robert Worthington, the UDT corpsman. Only three of the remaining fifteen escaped unscathed. UDT wounded in action include SM3 Art Ruiz, Seaman Michael Sandlin, SM3 Robert Lowry, Seaman William Piper, GMG3 Ricky Hinson, and LTJG Peter Upton."

RADM Philip A. Dur

RADM Philip A. Dur (ret)

Rear Admiral Philip A. Dur

Rear Admiral Philip A. Dur was born in Bethesda, Maryland on 22 June 1944. He was commissioned through the NROTC Program upon graduation from the University of Notre Dame in 1965, and he completed the Master's degree in Government and International studies in June of 1966.

His initial sea assignment was to the USS LITTLE ROCK (CLG 4) where he served as OR Division Officer and Radio Officer. In 1967, he was assigned to the staff of the SIXTH Fleet Commander as the Assistant Fleet Scheduler. He was subsequently transferred to the Naval Intelligence Command Headquarters, and in January 1970 he reported to the U.S. Naval Destroyer School in Newport, Rhode Island.

He next served as Operations Officer in USS KNOX (DE 1052) participating in two extended deployments to the U.S. SEVENTH Fleet, including the maiden deployment of the 1052 Class DE. In August 1972, he was assigned to Harvard University where he earned the Master's degree in Public Administration and the PhD in Political Economy and Government.

After completing the Command and Staff course at the Naval War College, he reported to USS WADDELL (DDG 24) as Executive Officer. In July 1977, he was assigned to the Strategy, Plans and Policy Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and in October of the following year he reported to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In September 1980, he assumed command of USS COMTE DE GRASSE. During this command tour, USS COMTE DE GRASSE completed two deployments to the SIXTH Fleet and extended cruises to the North Atlantic and Caribbean areas.

In September 1982, Rear Admiral Dur reported to the Executive Office of the President for duty on the Staff of the National Security Council where he became Director for Political- Military Affairs. In November 1984, he became Executive Assistant and Senior Aide to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Plans, Policy and Operations). He took command of the AEGIS Cruiser USS YORKTOWN (CG 48) in June 1996. During this tour, YORKTOWN completed deployments to the Caribbean, Central and South American waters and the Mediterranean region and won two successive Battle Efficiency awards for Atlantic Fleet cruisers. He next served as Executive Assistant and Naval Aide to the Secretary of the Navy until May 1989, and assumed duties as Defense Attache to France in August 1989 until April 1991. He assumed command of Cruiser-Destroyer Group EIGHT in June of 1991. Rear Admiral Dur reported in August 1993 as Director, Strategy and Policy Division in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Rear Admiral Dur has been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal (Oak Leaf in lieu of second award), the Legion of Merit (one gold star), the Meritorious Service Medal (two gold stars}, the Navy Commendation and Navy Achievement Medals and the Combat Action Ribbon. He has been awarded the Ordre Nationale du Merito, grade of officer, by the Government of France.

Rear Admiral Dur is married to the former Kathleen Donovan of Concord, Massachusetts. They have two children; Courtney (Smith College 1991) is with Corporate Affairs at the Philip Morris Co. in Washington. Philip IV is at Princeton University in the class of 1995.

Defense Superior
Service Medal
Defense Distinguished
Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service
Navy Achievement
Navy Commendation

Ltjg A.J. Elliot
LTJG A.J. Elliot

LT Elliot
LTJG Arthur J. Elliot
Aboard Little Rock
(1960-61 Cruise Book)

LCDR Arthur J. Elliot, II

"Jack", as his friends and family called him, was born in Rockland, Maine, April 9, 1933. He graduated from Thomaston (Maine) High School in 1950 and went on to receive a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1955 from Gorham State Teachers College in Maine where he majored in industrial arts.

After graduation he taught high school industrial arts for one year. Then, after attending US Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI he was commissioned in the U.S. Navy on 12 October 1956.

Upon graduation from OCS school, Ensign Elliot was assigned to USS LYMAN K. SWENSON (DD 729) where he served for two years and nine months, qualifying as OOD and filling billets as anti-submarine warfare officer, gunnery officer, damage control officeer and electrical officer. During this period, he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade.

Elliot resigned from the Navy on 09 Aug 1959 to take a position as an industrial arts instructor in a new high school opening in Augusta, Maine, while at the same time remaining in the Naval Reserve.

A year later, on 05 May 1960 he returned to active duty, assigned to USS Little Rock CLG 4, where he participated in Sixth Fleet exercises in the Mediterranean, during which time he was promoted to Lieutenant, along with receiving additional duties of CIC Officer.

In July 1962 he was assigned as Aide and as Flag Lieutenant to Rear Admirals William D. Irwin and Rear Admiral Redfield Mason Commander, Service Forces, Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor. He then was assigned to the USS JOHN KING DDG 3. This was followed by promotion to Lieutenant Commander where Elliot became the ship's Operations Officer.

LCDR Elliot in Jan 1968 volunteered for duty in Vietnam. While there he was named Commanding Officer of PBR (Patrol Boat River) Squadron 57 in the Mekong Delta area. He served in this capacity until killed in action on 29 Dec 1968.

LCDR Elliot never married.

LCDR Elliot's citations include:

Legion of Merit,
Bronze Star
Purple Heart,
Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm,
National Order of Vietnam (5th Class),
Vietnam Campaign Ribbon,
Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, and the
U.S. Navy Expeditionary Medal.

The following is from the USS Elliot website:

"USS ELLIOT (DD 967), commissioned on January 22, 1977, is the fifth ship of the 31-ship class of SPRUANCE destroyers. She is named in honor of LCDR Arthur J. Elliot, II, who, while in command of River Squadron FIFTY-SEVEN, was killed on December 29, 1968 during an engagement with enemy forces in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. ELLIOT is the first ship of the class to bear the name of a Vietnam war hero."

For more info on Arthur Elliot:

Roger Enrico
Roger A. Enrico

Roger A. Enrico

Roger A. Enrico was born on November 11, 1944 to Italian immigrants in Chisholm, MN. He was internationally respected for his marketing genius and highly regarded as a Dallas civic leader.

As a young man he was awarded a scholarship to Babson College where he studied business administration. Enrico later enlisted in the United States Navy and served in Vietnam, and on USS Little Rock at a LTJG in S3 Division 1968-70.

Enrico started his business career with General Mills as a brand manager for Wheaties. He joined PepsiCo in 1971, as a brand manager. His success promoting the onion-flavored Funyuns snack led to his managing Cheetos and Fritos labels before heading operations in Japan and South America.

He was appointed CEO in 1983 at the age of 38. That year he signed Michael Jackson to a multi-million dollar marketing deal, and later signed Lionel Richie.

Enrico was a member of the Dallas Together Forum, a group of Dallas leaders committed to improving economic opportunity for women and minorities, beginning in the late 1980s.

In 1996, he was named PepsiCo's chief executive officer, after serving as CEO of the company's snack, beverage and international restaurant businesses.

He was the Chairman of PepsiCo from 1996 to 2001, and Chairman of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc from 2004 to 2012. In addition he served on the Board of Directors of the National Geographic Society, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Solar Electric Light Fund, and the American Film Institute.

Enrico died June 1, 2016, aged 71, while snorkelling in the Cayman Islands where he had a home.

MU1 Gambone 1974
MU1 Ralph M. Gambone Jr.

Captain Gambone
Captain Ralph M. Gambone Jr.

Captain Ralph M. Gambone Jr. USN (Ret)

Captain Ralph M. Gambone Jr., a native of Annapolis, Md., enlisted in the Navy in 1969 after receiving his bachelor's degree in music from Towson State College (Maryland). He was first assigned to the U.S. Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Md., as a clarinet instrumentalist and also served as conductor of the Midshipman Stage and Concert Bands. While there he earned a master's degree in music from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

After a tour of duty aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock CLG 4, Gambone was assigned to the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C. After three years with the Band and a promotion to chief musician, he was assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel as Assistant Budget Manager for the Navy Music Program in 1978.

In 1981, he was commissioned an ensign and reported for duty as Music Program Liaison Officer for the Navy Chief of Information in the Pentagon.

After two years as Director, Navy Band San Diego, he was assigned as the U.S. Navy Band Supply Officer in 1985, and a year later assumed the duties of the U.S. Navy Band's Assistant Leader. From August 1988 to June 1990, he served as Director, SEVENTH Fleet Band, stationed on board the USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in Yokosuka, Japan, before returning to the U.S. Navy Band as Assistant Leader. His next assignment took him to the Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, Va., where he served first as Executive Officer from March to August 1994, then as Commanding Officer.

Captain Gambone became leader of the U.S. Navy Band on 13 Aug 1998, after a highly successful tour as Director of the U.S. Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Md. He was promoted to his present rank in October 2002.

In April 2001, Captain Gambone was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association (ABA), the professional association of master conductors and musicians. In May 1991, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award in music from Towson State University.

From 1998 - 2007 Captain Gambone lead the U.S. Navy Band, Washington, DC.

His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal (four awards) and others.

Highlights during CAPT Gambone's tenure include:

  1. 2000 (Jan) Marching in the 111th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
  2. 2001 (Jun) Plays for the dedication ceremony of The National D-Day Memorial with guest speaker President Geo. W. Bush.
  3. 2002 (Sep) Videotapes "America the Beautiful" for national TV broadcast by NFL prior to season opening football games.
  4. 2003 (Feb) Performs for Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 Memorial Service at Washington National Cathedral
  5. 2003 (May) Sea Chanters ninth performance with National Symphony Orchestra for Memorial Day Concert.
  6. 2004 (May) Performs at dedication of the National World War II Memorial with guest speaker President George W. Bush.
  7. 2004 (Jun) Participates in the State Funeral of President Ronald W. Reagan in Washington, D.C.
  8. 2004 (Oct) Performs with guest narrator, Ernest Borgnine for the Navy's 229th Birthday Concert
  9. 2005 (Jan) Performs for the 55th Presidential Inauguration…. the second term for George W. Bush as President
  10. 2005 (Mar) Presents 80th Anniversary Concert at DAR Constitution Hall hosted by SecNav Gordon R. England.
* For more information on Captain R.M. Gambone, click HERE.

Gov. R. Mabus
Gov. Ray Mabus

Ltjg Mabus
LTJG Mabus - 1972
Secretary of the Navy Flag

Raymond Edwin Mabus
Secretary of the Navy
(May 19, 2009 – Jan. 20, 2017)

Secretary of the Navy Flag

On March 27, 2009 President Barack Obama nominated USS Little Rock shipmate Raymond Mabus (see below) as the new Secretary of the Navy. After receiving unanimous Senate approval on May 18, 2009 Mr. Mabus was sworn in on June 18th as the 75th Secretary of the Navy.

On July 18, 2009 Secretary Mabus was the guest speaker at the USS Little Rock Association's annual reunion held in Buffalo, New York.

Ray Mabus has served as Governor of Mississippi and US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In addition he has served as Chairman of a large manufacturing company, managed a family timber business and served on various corporate and charitable boards.

Although Ray Mabus was the youngest governor in America at the time of his inauguration on January 12, 1988, he had accumulated an impressive record of public service and academic achievements.

Born October 11, 1948, in Choctaw County, Mississippi, Mabus had earned three degrees: a bachelor of arts from the University of Mississippi (summa cum laude); a master's in political science from Johns Hopkins University; and a law degree from Harvard (magna cum laude). He had been offered a Fulbright Scholarship, had held a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, and had traveled widely throughout Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and Latin America.

In addition to a two-year tour of duty in the United States Navy aboard the guided missile cruiser U.S.S. Little Rock (as a LTJG in 1971 and 1972), Secretary Mabus had also served as a law clerk in the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, as a legal counsel to a subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee, and as legal counsel to Governor William Winter.

In 1983 Mabus was elected State Auditor of Mississippi in his first campaign for public office. While in this post he was chosen as one of Esquire's Top Forty Under Forty and was the subject of a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal.

In 1988, while not yet forty years old, Ray Mabus was elected governor on the slogan, "Mississippi Will Never Be Last Again." Later he was chosen in a poll of Mississippians as the Best Governor of the 20th Century.

Governor Mabus has been awarded the U.S. Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award, the U.S. Army's Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Martin Luther King Social Responsibility Award from the King Center in Atlanta, the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award, the King Abdul Aziz Award from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Mississippi Association of Educators' Friend of Education Award.

Governor Mabus was appointed U. S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia by President Bill Clinton and served in that position from 1994 through 1996.

Following Hurricane Katrina Secretary Mabus was a founder of the Help and Hope Foundation, which works to meet the needs of children affected by the storm. He has also served as a member of the RAND Center for Mid-East Public Policy and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has been the Distinguished Lecturer on the Middle East at the University of Mississippi. As a photographer, his photographs have raised tens of thousands of dollars for various Mississippi charities.

On July 23, 2015 the Naval History and Heritage Command published the following in "OUR PEOPLE" an article titled "SECNAV Ray Mabus Surpasses Historic Milestone".

The article states in part:

"Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus surpassed a historic milestone this week - serving longer than any other Secretary of the Navy since the Department of Defense was created in 1947.... SECNAV Mabus passed former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, who served in the position from Feb. 5, 1981 until April 10, 1987 for a total of 2,255 days. ..Although Mabus is the longest serving SECNAV since the DoD was created by President Harry S. Truman, overall he is sixth on the all- time list of Secretaries of Navy, which began Oct. 13, 1775. ..Should he remain in office at least through the rest of President Obama's term that ends Jan. 20, 1917, Mabus will have amassed seven years, eight months and three days, taking the No. 4 position.... "

(The need for someone to report to the president about naval activities was established the same date as the 's birthday: Oct. 13, 1775)

Read the entire article at the Naval History and Heritage Command's website.

McCorkle DTSN
George in the Navy
George McCorkle
George McC
Geo McCorkle Guitar Player

George McCorkle

George McCorkle was born in Chester SC and raised in nearby Spartanburg. George recalls "We were a typical South Carolina mill family,"...."Very poor." He was drafted into the Navy as an 18 year old graduate of Spartanburg High School and was stationed on the USS Little Rock in 1966 and 1967 as a DTSN while the ship was homeported in Gaeta, Italy.

After his discharge from the Navy, George decided to return to what he loved most in life: making music. To supplement his professional music livelihood he took gigs as a dental lab technician, race car driver, car salesman, and owner of both a glass company and a car lot. He believes his work ethic has its roots in his "meager beginnings" and "growing up Southern".

In an effort to mature musically, George performed with The Toy Factory and Pax Parachute. George was a founding member of The Marshall Tucker Band formed in Spartanburg in 1972.

In 1973 an album changed the sound of Rock and Roll Forever! That album "Marshall Tucker Band" contained hits like "Take the Highway" and the southern rock anthem "Can't you See". The Marshall Tucker band combined Country, Rock, Jazz, and Blues to create an original sound which transcended all music boundaries. To this day Marshall Tucker songs can be heard on both rock and country stations around the world. President Jimmy Carter had this to say: "The Marshall Tucker Band has always been one of my favorite performing groups........They certainly deserve a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

Music is George McCorkle's passion. He has enjoyed great success with the Marshall Tucker Band, as a solo artist and through the legacy of songs that he is actively creating. He has played beside B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Dickie Betts, Charlie Daniels and a host of other legendary guitar players.

George now resides outside of Nashville TN with his wife Vivienne and his family.

The above was excerpted from the Marshall Tucker Band web site which can be found at:

Obituary - George McCorkle

.....Founding Marshall Tucker Band guitarist, songwriter and Spartanburg native George McCorkle, who composed one of the band's biggest hit songs, "Fire on the Mountain," died in Nashville Friday (June 29, 2007) morning.....he was 60 years old......A revered rhythm guitarist, McCorkle's percussive and textural rhythm guitar was a fundamental component of the band's sound, lending elements of blues, R&B and funk to a signature rhythmic pulse and distinctive Southern-rock sound.

The above was added to this page on 28 January 2008. Derived from the Spartanburg, SC Herald-Journal

Obituary - George F. McCorkle

Birth: Oct. 11, 1947
Chester, Chester County, SC, USA
Death: Jun. 29, 2007
Lebanon, Wilson County, TN

Musician. A founding member of the southern rock group, the Marshall Tucker Band. He was raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and at 18 was drafted into the United States Navy, serving on the USS Little Rock while it was stationed in Italy (1966 to 1967). After his discharge from the service, he decided to turn his attention to music. He played guitar with The Toy Factory and Pax Parachute, and in 1972, co-formed the Marshall Tucker Band. In 1973 the band released the album the "Marshall Tucker Band" which included "Take The Highway" and "Can't You See", which are still played on the radio today. McCorkle left the group in 1984 to become a full-time songwriter in Nashville. He made his last guest appearance with the Marshall Tucker Band in August 2006 and also played on the 2005 "Carolina Christmas" CD. He died of cancer at the University Medical Center in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Buried at: Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, SpartanburgSC , USA

The above obituary was obtained from

The picture on the immediate left was provided by Ron Moody to

General Mundy

Gen. Carl E. Mundy, Jr.

Carl Epting Mundy Jr. born July 16, 1935, was the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from July 1, 1991 until his retirement on June 30, 1995. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, he currently serves on the boards of directors of Schering-Plough and General Dynamics. Mundy is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Military experience:

Enlisted in the Marine Corps reserve and enrolled in the Platoon Leaders Class Program December 1953. Served in the 38th Special Infantry Company, Montgomery, AL, and rose to the grade of sergeant. He was commissioned a 2nd LT June 1957, following graduation from Auburn University. Assignments included: 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division; aircraft carrier USS Tarawa, cruiser USS Little Rock; instructor at The Basic School and Officer Selection Officer, Raleigh, NC. In 1966-67, he served in Vietnam as operations and executive officer of 3d Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, and as an intelligence officer in the Headquarters, III Marine Amphibious Force.

After Vietnam, his principal assignments were:

  1. Aide de Camp to the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
  2. Inspector Instructor, 4th Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Co., Miami, FL
  3. Commanding Officer, 2d Battalion, 4th Marine Reg, 3d Marine Division
  4. Plans Officer, Headquarters Marine Corps
  5. Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, 2d Marine Division
  6. Chief of Staff, Sixth Marine Amphibious Brigade
  7. Commanding Officer, 2d Marine Reg, 2d Marine Div, and 36th and 38th Marine Amphibious Units

Following advancement to Brigadier General in April 1982, General Mundy's assignments were:

  1. Director of Personnel Procurement, Headquarters Marine Corps
  2. Commanding General, Landing Force Training Command, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and Commanding General, 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade
  3. Advanced to major general in April 1986
  4. Director of Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps
  5. Advanced to lieutenant general in March 1988
  6. Deputy Chief of Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps Operations Deputy to the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  7. Commanding General of the Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, the II Marine Expeditionary Force, the Allied Command Atlantic Marine Striking Force, and designated to command Fleet Marine Forces which might be employed in Europe
  8. Promoted to general on July 1, 1991
  9. Commandant of the Marine Corps from July 1, 1991 to June 30, 1995
  10. General Mundy retired on June 30, 1995, having given 38 years of active duty service.

General Mundy is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but spent his formative years in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama. He graduated from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the Naval War College. His United States decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Service Medals of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard; the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, and two Navy Commendation Medals. His foreign decorations include Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Colombian Distinguished Service, the Spanish Grand Cross of Naval Merit; the French Legion of Honor, Grade of Commander, the Argentinean Grand Cross, the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, Grand Cross; and the Netherlands Medal of Merit.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Excerpted from a Marine Corps Times article by Hope Hodge Seck, April 3, 2014

The Marine Corps' 30th commandant, retired Gen. Carl Epting Mundy Jr., has died, his family confirmed to Marine Corps Times. He was 78.

Mundy was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma, several months ago, said his son-in-law, Bob Gunter. He died April 2 at his home in Alexandria, Va. . . . . . . . . . .

Following his retirement in 1995 after a 38-year military career, Mundy went on to serve as president and CEO of the USO and also served as chairman of the Marine Corps University Foundation.

Mundy's two sons followed him into the Marine Corps. His oldest son, Brig. Gen. Carl E. Mundy III currently serves as commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade in California, while Col. Timothy S. Mundy serves as chief of staff for Combat Development and Integration at Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va. He also survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Gunter.

Mundy's wife of 56 years, Linda Sloan Mundy, died last June. She was 78.

In a statement released April 3, Marine Commandant Gen. Jim Amos called Mundy "a valiant warrior, a dedicated public servant, and a good and decent man."

A note from shipmate Woody Donaldson: ". . . I remember him coming into the barbershop for haircuts."

Chaplain Alfred J. Otto

CDR Albert J. Otto

Commander Otto was born in Kalamazoo, MI on January 13, 1924. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in May1943 and served during World War II as Sergeant in the Telephone Corps with long-range artillery units in the Pacific Theater. Upon discharge from the Marines in February 1946 SGT Otto returned to his parents home in Maggie Valley, NC.

Pursuing a higher education, Otto attended and graduated from Emory University with a Bachelors of Science degree ('48). He subsequently received a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Masters in Biology from Hofstra University, and a Master of Arts in Human Resources Management from Pepperdine University. He studied for a PhD at Dropsie College of Hebrew and Cognate Learning. He married Elizabeth Colgan on May 7, 1948.

He joined the US Navy on Aug. 17, 1953 and was commissioned a LTJG (Chaplain Corps) as the first Plymouth Brethren Assemblies chaplain in the US Navy. (At that point in time the number of chaplains of each denomination were selected based on the relative persons in a particular denomination with respect to the overall population. The Plymouth Brethren are one of the smallest of the Protestant denominations.) He served in the US Navy until retiring on June 30, 1980.

In addition to the USS Little Rock ('61-62) CDR Otto alson served on USS MINDORO, at SERVFORLANT, and at USMC Recruit Depot Parris Island. He retired as a Commander on June 30, 1980, his final shipboard assignment being USS Saratoga.

He was a resident of Maggie Valley, NC at the time of his death on 22 May 2009.

Funeral services were conducted by Reverend Michael Otto with military rites being performed by the United States Navy.

CDR Rozier Picture
CDR C. P. Rozier

DDR-835 with Sub
DDR-835 with Russian Sub

Commander Charles P. Rozier

Commander Charles P. Rozier, a native of Sparta, Georgia, entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1940, after three years at Emory University. He was commissioned upon graduation in 1943.

While serving in USS TUSCALOOSA (CA37), he participated in the regarrisioning of Spitsbergen October 1943; the Normandy invasion, Cherbourg bombardment, and Southern France invasion, 1944; Iwo Jima and Okinawa battles, 1945.

In other tours of duty afloat, he has served as Gunnery Officer in USS BASILONE (DDE 824), Executive Officer in USS DASHIELL (DD 659), Commanding Officer in USS WOODSON (DE 359), Operations Officer in USS LITTLE ROCK CLG 4 1960-1961, and Commanding Officer of USS Charles P. Cecil (DD/DDR-835).

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree in Management and Industrial Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The following is from Time Magazine, June 1962

"Sighted Sub, Surfaced Same"

The warm Caribbean night was electric with tension as the destroyer sliced at flank speed through the quarantine zone east-northeast of Cuba. Just a few moments before - an hour after sunset on last Oct. 29, a blue-green blip had appeared on the radar screen of the U.S.S Charles P. Cecil. Almost immediately the blip began to fade. To Commander Charles P. Rozier, 42, the Cecil's skipper, that meant a diving submarine. The loudspeaker barked: "ASW attack team, man your stations."

Crewmen scrambled to torpedo mounts, readied depth charges and "hedgehogs" (rocket-fired bombs thrown ahead of an attacking destroyer). From a small compartment just over the keel, sonar men sent quick bursts of sound stabbing through the sub's last position - and heard a satisfying "ping" as the sound waves bounced off moving steel. When a relay in the sonar gear failed, a sonarman quickly unscrewed the cabinet facing, triggered the set by hand until it was repaired.

Then began a game of seagoing hide-and-seek that lasted 34 hours. The Russian sub commander was no amateur. At first he tried to duck into the Cecil's wake - a boil of water some 70 ft. deep providing a perfect baffle against the ship's sonar. When that failed, he ejected noisy motor-driven decoys from his hull. He stopped his engines and slid under thermoclines - blanketlike water layers of varying temperature, which cause sonar beams to scatter.

During the long, dogged pursuit, Rozier and his crew grudgingly came to respect the enemy below. Said one sonarman: "He was a smart cookie, all right. He had a whole bagful of tricks and he tried them all" But Rozier who spent all but two hours on the bridge, kept sonic knuckles rapping steadily on the sub's hull.

Finally, just seven minutes before reveille on Oct 31, the Cecil's hydrophones began roaring with the sound of blowing ballast tanks. The loudspeaker crackled "Russian submarine on surface". Sailors sprang from their bunks, lined the rail clad in skivvies. There in the red dawn, black superstructure glistening, the sub rolled on a gentle swell, the hammer and sickle fluttering atop her sail shaped conning' tower.

Then Destroyerman Rozier administered the final indignity. Up the signal yard ran the two international code flags that spell: "Can we be of assistance?". The Russian made no reply. (See Note 1. below)

Last week in Norfolk, Rozier and six of his crew received Secretary of the Navy's Commendation Medal. Though some 30 Soviet sub contacts were made during the Cuban crisis, only the Cecil brought her quarry to the surface, single-handed.

The following information not in the above article was provided by Captain Rozier;

"This occurred about 10 days after departing Norfolk and we were still missing about 35 members of the crew who had missed our sailing and were attempting to catch up. The Cecil and Stickell were the first destroyers out of Norfolk three days before the blockade was announced. Opened orders at sea, escorted the oiler Chikaskia and ammunition ship Wrangell south to picket line and was on station a day before the announced quarantine began. A banner day for the Cecil and the Destroyer Navy".

It was not until 2001 that then-Captain Rozier learned that the Soviet submarine was carrying a nuclear warhead-tipped torpedo with the explosive energy of the Hiroshima bomb.

Note 1. Other sources relate that the Cecil's message was "Do you need help?", to which the Russian sub replied "We do not need any help. Asking you not interfer with our actions."
Note 2. The Russian diesel submarine was a Foxtrot, No. B-36, skippered by Captain Second Rank Aleksei Dubivko.
Note 3. After the Russian submarine surfaced, Commander Rozier manuvered the Cecil to within 100 yards of the sub to prevent the Russian from using its torpedos.

In early November 2012 we received notice that Captain Rozier had passed away on 15 April 2012.
The following is his obituary and comments received from shipmates.

Rozier, Charles P.
(Nov. 25, 1920 - April 15, 2012)

Captain Charles Preston Rozier Sr. USN (ret) ("Charlie"), 91, a resident of Ingleside at Rock Creek in Washington D.C., died peacefully on Sunday, April 15, 2012, of cancer.

Captain Rozier was born on November 25, 1920 in Sparta, Georgia, the sixth of seven children of Elleene Burnet Rozier and Edward Alexander Rozier II. He attended Emory University in Atlanta and was later appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD. Graduating in 1943, he was immediately sent overseas, first seeing action aboard the U.S.S. Tuscaloosa at the Battle of Normandy, and subsequently serving in the Pacific at the Battle of Okinawa. In 1962, as commander of the U.S.S. Charles P. Cecil, he was instrumental in forcing a Russian submarine to surface during the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the Vietnam War, he was commander of the U.S.S. Camden, and later served as Commodore of a destroyer squadron.

Over the course of his naval career, Captain Rozier was awarded numerous medals and honors, including the Bronze Star, Navy Commendation Medal, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; and obtained graduate degrees from MIT and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

After his retirement from the Navy in 1972, Captain Rozier worked for twenty years as a systems analyst for TRW in McLean, VA. At the age of 72 he retired, and for the next twenty years volunteered for Accuracy in Media in Washington D.C.

Mr. Rozier enjoyed singing with the Ingleside Singers at his retirement community where he also chaired two committees.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Clair Price Rozier; their three children, Charles Preston Rozier Jr., Louis Harris Rozier II, and Clair Rozier Reid; five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Frances Rozier Birdsong, and his brother, Louis Harris Rozier, both of Sparta, Georgia.

Memorial services will be held at the Columbarium of the U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD on May 14th at 11:00am.. Memorial contributions may be made to the U. S. Naval Academy Annual Fund at the following address: USNAF Gift Processing, 291 Wood Road , Annapolis, MD 21402.

Published online on April 24, 2012 courtesy of RAPP Funeral and Cremation Services

On Nov 9, 2012, at 4:43 PM, David Resch wrote:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,but by the number of moments that take your breath away!!

CDR Rozier was my OPS Boss when I served on the Rock from 1960 to 1962. CDR Rozier was, in my estimation, the finest naval officer that I ever had the privileged to under. That was not just my opinion but the opinion of all of the officers and enlisted that were under him.

What he and LCDR Wheeler did for me was unique, and one of my proudest moments. The Rock had won the OPS E, and the COMM C, and the missile G, and during the ceremony to paint the awards on the ship, I was selected to paint on the C, as I was the training petty officer for the COMM gang. All of the others in the ceremony were officers. I was a slick arm st Class Radioman.

We of course were elated that Captain Rozier had brought up the Russian sub during the Cuban Crisis. A few years ago I sent now retired Captain Rozier an e-mail, just to tell him how great it was to serve under him for those two years, and he was kind enough to respond....

Sincerely submitted,
David J. Resch, RMCM, USN (Ret)

On Nov 9, 2012, at 10:40 PM, Henry Stanley wrote:

Very sad to hear of CDR Rozier.

I first met CDR Rozier when I came aboard Little Rock at Camden before our first acceptance sea trials. CDR Rozier made sure all of us in the Operations Dept. were well situated and had quarters. He was a fine officer and leader, a very quiet manner, but a commanding presence. In my memories of Navy life, I have always considered CDR Rozier as the finest gentleman and Naval Officer I ever had the privilege to meet or serve under.

Best regards,
Henry Stanley LTJG 60-61

On November 15, 2012 Robert Eade wrote:

Art, Sorry to hear that CDR Rozier has passed away. I recall him as a serious, very intense and highly motivated Operations Officer who knew every square inch of CIC and believed the Operations Department was the heartbeat of the ship. I recall CDR Rozier in the pre-com days until we both left CLG 4 in 1961.

Being the 3rd Division junior officer, my contacts with CDR Rozier were limited primarily to the wardroom at meal time. In the wardroom, he always sat with the XO and CDR Hepfinger, the Gunnery Officer, at the head table; certainly no place for a junior deck officer to be sitting. He appeared occasionally on deck but I don't ever recall seeing him on the bridge while standing watch at sea. I presume he was in CIC while underway.

While in port at Philly or at Norfolk I recall he would occasionally have his family on board on weekends and I would have small talk with him while standing quarterdeck watches.

Again, sorry to hear he has passed on.

Best regards,
Robert Eade LTJG, 1959-1961

RD1 RO Simon
RM1 Roger O. Simon

RAdm RO Simon
RADM R. O. Simon

Rear Admiral Roger O. Simon

Roger O. Simon was born in Perham, MN, enlisted in the Navy in Oct 1950 and served as a radioman on USS W.B. COBB (APD-106) and on the staff of COMFAIRWINGSLANT.

In 1955 RM1 Simon was appointed to OCS Newport, RI, and upon graduation received orders to USS BULWARK (MSO-425) as Minesweeping and Gunnery Officer, and subsequently to USS BITTERN (MHC-43), USS ROSS (DD-536), and USS D.H. FOX (DD-799). In 1961 he was ordered to shore duty with Defense Communications Agency, Washington, DC. From 1963 to 1965 he served as Aide and Flag Secretary to Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla EIGHT. From 1967 to 1969 Admiral Simon was Executive Officer in USS HOLDER (DD-819), and from Mar 1969 to Jul 1970 he was Deputy J-6 on the staff of the UN Command / US Forces, Korea.

Admiral Simon commanded the fleet frigate USS EDWARD McDONNELL (FF-1 043) from Aug 1971 until Feb 1973 when he was ordered to the SIXTH Fleet Flagship, USS Little Rock CLG 4 as Executive Officer. His next assignment was as CO of Naval Communication Station, Morocco from May 1975 until Feb 1977. In addition Admiral Simon has had the following assignments: CO of USS RICHMOND K. TURNER (CG-20) Aug 1977 - Jan 1980, Deputy Commander, Naval Telecommunications Command Feb 1980 - Aug 1982.

In Dec 1981 Admiral Simon was selected for Commodore, and in Aug 1982 promoted to Flag grade. Admiral Simon served as Deputy Commander, Command Control, Communications and Intelligence (C31) Systems and Technology Directorate, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, Washington, D.C. from Sep 1982 until Jan 1986, followed by assignment as Assistant Deputy Commander for Electronic Warfare Systems, Naval Sea Systems Command. After his retirement in 1987, Admiral Simon joined Systems Exploration, a (C4I) Systems Engineering Company, as VP for Eastern Operations and remained in that position until 1991.

Admiral Simon is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, where he was awarded a B.S. degree in International Relations. He also holds a Master's degree in International Affairs from George Washington University and is a graduate of the Naval War College (Naval Warfare), Newport, RI.

Admiral Simon is married to the former Phyllis Antoson of Frazee, MN. They have two children, Craig and Shelley. The Simons reside in Little River, SC.

Click HERE to read RADM Simon's Oral History.

The crew remembers....

Received from LCDR Frank Gates, USN, Ret on 18 Jun 2009
USS Little Rock (1970-1975)

Nice article on RADM Simon.

I was a CWO OPTECH and served with him for some time on Little Rock when he was XO as a CDR and he was promoted to Captain before he transferred to take Command of USS ??? (COMSTA Morocco). Super XO and person to work for.

He and I had some close calls when I was OOD in the Med. One occasion was when the CO, Captain P.K. Cullins was at morning brief with Admiral and staff. We were joining about 50 ships in a circular formation with Soviets trailing. I entered formation from astern and was proceeding to center of formation to assume guide going between an oiler on starboard side and a destroyer on port side at the time, Simon was watching from port and I from starboard. CAPT Cullins came on bridge and all he saw was ships all around us, he went ballistic because he hadn't been informed that we were maneuvering into formation. XO thought I had called Captain (really my responsibility) and I thought that XO had called Captain as we were required to do. Needless to say we both got our asses chewed royally.

Afterwards, Captain Cullins being the great guy that he was called me to his bridge chair and said "Super Job, Frank" but next time how about telling me where you are taking my ship !!

Vic Voltaggio
Vic Voltaggio

Vic Voltaggio
MLB Umpire

Vito Henry "Vic" Voltaggio was born March 17, 1941 in Vineland, NJ. He attended Vineland High School, and later attended East Carolina University. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps on Aug. 11, 1959 and as a LCPL he served aboard the USS Little Rock in 1960-62. He was discharged on Aug. 17, 1967 as a Sergeant.

In 1973, Vic enrolled in "Umpire School" in Florida and later that year began his career in the Midwest League. He moved up to the Carolina League in 1974, to the Southern League in 1975, the International League in 1976, and finally to the American League in 1977.

Vic spent the next 24 years calling balls and strikes in the American League.

When the league adopted uniform numbers in 1980 Vic donned #26, the number he wore for his entire 2,118 major league game career. Vic retired in 1996.

Some of Vic's most memorable games include the third game of the 1989 World Series between the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park when the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake shook the stadium. Vic was the home plate umpire for that game and remembers it well.

Voltaggio was the plate umpire on the night of April 29, 1986 when Boston's Roger Clemens set a Major League mark by striking out 20 Seattle Mariners.

He umpired the 1987 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, three American League Championship Series (1981, 1985 and 1990), as well as the 1989 World Series.

During his career, Vic Voltaggio was the plate umpire for three major-league no-hitters, including one by the legendary Nolan Ryan. He also umpired home plate during the final at-bats of Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski and Brooks Robinson, and was the plate ump when Cal Ripken began his consecutive-game streak in 1982.

Vic was home plate umpire when the 1989 World Series was struck by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake on October 17, just before the start of Game 3 between the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants.

Voltaggio also called balls and strikes for Seattle Mariner's Chris Bosio's no-hitter on April 22, 1993 when Bosio retired 27 straight Boston Red Sox batters after walking the first two.

Sergeant Voltaggio is a member of the Marine Corps League and has served as the league's "Detachment Commander" and as "National Judge Advocate".

Vic and his wife Janet have four children - Robin, Bob, Victoria, and Susan.

This former Marine and shipmate also served 18 months in Vietnam, and is a distant relative of famous songwriter Stephen Foster!

BM1 James E. Williams

Williams Receives MOH from Pres. Johnson
BMC Williams receives
Medal of Honor
President Lyndon Johnson

Medal of Honor (Navy)
Medal of Honor

USS James E. Williams

"Don't mess with Bosun Elliott!
Just ask the Viet Cong!"

James Elliott Williams
Boatswain's Mate

James Elliott "Willy" Williams was born November 13, 1930 in Fort Mill, South Carolina and moved two months later with his parents to Darlington, South Carolina where he spent his early childhood and youth. He attended the local schools and graduated from St. John's high school. He was married to the former Elaine Weaver and they had five children and seven grandchildren.

In July 1947, at the age of 16, he entered the United States Navy. Among his many duty stations John served aboard the U.S.S. Little Rock from June 1960 through April 1963, reenlisting aboard USS Little Rock in April of 1962. He served for twenty years, retiring in April 1967. During those twenty years he served in both the Korean and Vietnam war.

Williams was the most highly decorated enlisted man in the history of the U.S. Navy. On May 14, 1968 the President of the United States, in the name of Congress, presented him the Medal of Honor. His other awards include:

  1. Medal of Honor
  2. Navy Cross
  3. Silver Star
  4. The Legion of Merit (with Combat V)
  5. The Navy and Marine Corp Medal (2)
  6. Bronze Star (3)
  7. Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star and Palm
  8. Navy Commendation Medal
  9. Presidential Unit Citation (2)
  10. Purple Heart (3)
  11. Vietnam Service Medal (1 star)
  12. Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
  13. National Defense Service Medal (1 star)
  14. United Nations Service Medal
  15. Korean Service Medal (2 stars)
  16. Korean Presidential Unit Citation
  17. Good Conduct Medal (5)
Williams' Medals

Williams received the Medal of Honor from President Lyndon Johnson at a ceremony at the Pentagon. The Citation reads in part

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty..........extraordinary heroism and exemplary fighting spirit in the face of grave risks inspired the efforts of his men to defeat a larger enemy force, and are in keeping with the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service."

In the history of the U.S. Navy only seven men have earned all of the "Big Three" valor awards: the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross and Silver Star Medal. Six of those were World War II officers, including one aviator and four submarine commanders. The seventh was enlisted man, and prior USS Little Rock sailor James Elliott Williams.

In 1999, Williams died on the Navy's birthday, October 13th, and was buried at the Florence National Cemetery in Florence, South Carolina.

More information on the U.S.S. James Elliott Williams DDG-95 can be found at:

A full copy of the Medal of Honor Citation, as well as a more detailed biography of James Elliott Williams can be found at:

Additional information can be found at:

The crew remembers....

Received from Commander Ed Daly 01 May 2008
USS Little Rock (1961-1963, 1974-75)

I was Personnel Officer on Little Rock from Dec. 1961 to August 1963, having just been selected in the LDO program. During that period the Navy instituted the Career Counselor billet on all major combatants to boost reenlistment rates. BM2 James Williams was having some problems as mess deck MAA and the XO informed me that he was going to select him for the new billet which would come under my supervision. So, off he went to Career Counselor school.

When he returned, almost every day, he would come charging into the office with a potential seaman or PO3 in tow. He was as gruff as hell and would say something to the effect: "Mr. Daly, this is so-and-so and he thinks he wants to reenlist but I've talked to his division officer and he doesn't think too much of him, and I don't either--but you decide what to do." I would get the prospect's service record and invariably it showed that the their marks were 3.6. to 4.0 across the board, with no problems with discipline. It was Williams' reverse psychology he was using. And it worked!! The Little Rock reenlistment rate went through the roof and led almost every ship in the Atlantic Fleet and was ALWAYS #1 in CruLant.

A little aside. Williams was from Darlington, SC and had an auto dealers license. He would make it known that he could get vehicles for crew members at a lot better prices than they could in the Norfolk area. He would take orders for vehicles (general description such as "Chevy 4 door", "Buick Station wagon", "nothing more than two years old" etc.) and attend auctions in Darlington on long weekends and while on leave. If he spotted a vehicle someone wanted, he would buy it and resell it to crew members at a bargain price. He dealt mostly with officers and chiefs who had the money or could get a bank or credit union loan in a hurry.

BM2 Williams also ran a slush fund---you know just before payday loaning $5. for a payback of $7 a couple of days later. He never went to Mast for it but he supposedly shut the operation down. He was quite a character and now is the most decorated enlisted man in history, including all of the Armed Forces!!

Click HERE if you have a picture or other information of any of these or of other famous crew members, we would love to have it.

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