Fallen soldier was 'headed to great things'
The Frederick (Md.) News-Post/MCT
Former teachers remember Army Sgt. David V. Williams as a friendly, hardworking young man with an impeccable Bill Cosby impersonation.
Williams, 24, died Saturday while serving in the Kandahar province of southern Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced late Tuesday. The cause of his death remained under investigation Wednesday.
On Thursday, retired Col. David W. Williams released a statement about his son, asking the public “please remember David Vincent in your prayers.”
“(David) was a caring, giving soul, who loved his family, the Army, and his country,” Williams wrote. “He was serving his 1st deployment and looking forward to marrying a wonderful young woman upon his return. Words cannot express the grief that David's sister, fiancé and I are feeling. We sincerely appreciate all of our many friends who have reached out to express their condolences and offers to help. We are humbled by the outpouring of love and compassion. Please understand that we are still processing this. We are blessed to have so many friends, and also to have an Army family here at Fort Detrick that has stepped forward to help.”
Funeral arrangements are still being arranged but the elder Williams said a wake is expected Aug. 29 at Stauffer Funeral Home with a service planned at the Fort Detrick Chapel Aug. 30. People wishing to express condolences and respect for Williams can consider a donation to www.yellowribbonsunited.org. The organization unites professional sports, corporations and fans to provide support to military families and veterans. It was founded by Emma Dockery, Williams’ sister, and her husband.
Williams was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, where he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
He was a 2006 graduate of Urbana High School, teachers and former faculty confirmed Wednesday.
Williams joined the Army in 2008, according to a news release from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and had been stationed at Camp Red Cloud in South Korea before being assigned to the Washington post in February 2011.
Williams deployed to Afghanistan in April. It was his first deployment, according to the release.
"It's a sad day, and he was a good kid," said George Seaton, principal at Urbana when Williams was a student there. Seaton is now principal at Oakdale High School. He remembered Williams as a serious, respectful student.
Lt. Col. George J. Logan III, the casualty assistance officer assigned to Williams' case, said the family is grieving and does not want to talk publicly. Williams' father, retired Col. David W. Williams, works at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick. His mother, Deborah, died of breast cancer in 2006, according to an obituary in The Frederick News-Post.
Helen Burks, a science assistant at Urbana High, remembered Williams from her days serving in the school's media center.
"He was raised right, you could tell. He just had that personality about him," Burks said.
Ida Davis had Williams in her multicultural club at Urbana. As his senior project, Williams planned a special assembly for Veterans Day that he arranged in collaboration with Fort Detrick, Davis said. He was a respectful student, the kind that teachers "wish you could clone -- make other students like him," she said.
On Wednesday, Davis remembered Williams' Veterans Day assembly and "the seriousness and the commitment he had in putting it together and making it very nice."
"It was packed," Davis said.
But Williams also had a jokester side to him, said Wayne Rousculp, a math and science teacher at Urbana. Rousculp had Williams in a freshman math class, he said.
"He would somehow turn an innocuous answer into a Bill Cosby impression about pudding pops," Rousculp said.
Jan Marcus helped to tutor Williams while he was in high school and again after he arrived at Frederick Community College, he said. Williams had hoped to transfer to McDaniel College in Westminster for its ROTC program, but Marcus did not know if the transfer ever occurred.
Williams was very close with his family, Marcus said, including his mother, who was active in the young man's education.
"I just know that David was headed to great things," Marcus said.
Williams' awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal (two awards), Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon and NATO Medal.
Distributed by MCT Information Services