BEECH GROVE, Ind., (February 5, 2016) -- He was a witness to history when he served our country in the United States Air Force.
A career military man who was dedicated to his role in protecting our country, Master Sgt., Richard Williams (Ret.) believed in discipline, getting an education and doing the job right.
Williams didn’t serve on the front lines, but he worked in the battle zone. His weapon was his mind and his commitment to the work excelled when lives were on the line. He aimed high when he joined the newly formed United States Air Force at age 18.
“Some of those other branches you have to swim a lot and I couldn’t swim, but they had a good education system. I went through 11 tech schools while I was in there 21 years,” he said.
He worked on fighter jets.
They were the fast and the furious of their time with the newest technology. The F86, the F106 and the F4 were some of the fierce flying machines Williams worked on and cleared for flight. As a line chief and crew chief, he paid attention to every detail. If anything was missed, it could spell disaster, but Williams was in his element.
“I enjoyed my work,” Williams said.
He served in the Korean War and in Vietnam. He rubbed elbows with military elite: five-star Gen. Douglas MacArthur, four-star Gen. Earl Partridge who went on to command NORAD and the fastest man alive, Gen. Chuck Yeager.
Williams was on the cutting-edge and even helped develop new technology such as the Fulton Surface to Air Recovery System.
“It pulled the man up in the air straight about 200 feet and I never saw him leave the ground.”
“I’ve known him since I was 5 years old and I’m learning things today that I never knew about. He is very humble about what he did and you know it was part of the job,” said Joe McCullough about his brother-in-law in Richard’s home at American Senior Communities, Beech Grove Meadows.
McCullough is proud of Williams and calls him a hero for the work he did in the service.
“He was the master sergeant and as I have grown older, I have the utmost respect. I do honor him. I have teenage boys they have the most respect for him,” said McCullough.
Williams is one of four generations in his family to serve, from his daughter to his great grandfather. We thank him and his family for their service and dedication to our country.
Williams says he is most proud of being awarded two USAF merit medals with honor in 1969 and in 1970.