George L. Williams, Chief Fire Controlman, born Dec. 14, 1920,
Farmland, IN. He enlisted in the USN Dec. 28, 1938; after basic
training at Newport, RI, joined the USS West Virginia battleship at the
Brooklyn Navy Yard. Proceeded through the Panama Canal, joined the
Pacific Fleet and was at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
As a fire controlman 2/c, while sleeping in the plotting room, he was
awakened by the first torpedo hit. The USS Oklahoma had already
capsized when they received word to abandon ship. He attempted to cross
over to the USS Tennessee and was successful. The USS West Virginia was
counter-flooded and settled on the bottom on an even keel, enabling him
to return to ship. Later they were hit with a bomb which exploded,
setting them afire.
Two days later he volunteered for the USS Monaghan, which was engaged
in the Coral Sea and Midway battles before being damaged during a shore
bombardment attack in the Aleutians. Returning to Pearl Harbor he was
recalled to the West Virginia and sent to Advanced Fire Control School
in Washington, DC. Upon graduation he was assigned to the USS New
Jersey in Philadelphia and advanced to chief fire controlman. They
joined the Pacific Fleet in time for the landings at Marshall-Gilbert
Islands, bombardment of Truk, landings at Saipan-Tinian and the
Philippine Sea Battle.
Being injured and spending the next six months in Navy hospitals, he was discharged at Santa Cruz, CA, on Feb. 27, 1945.
Returning home to Muncie, IN, he married Jeanne Wright and they have
one daughter and two sons. He was employed for 37 years at Warner Gear,
Div. of Borg Warner Corp., and was a project engineer when he retired
in 1980. Active in church work, organizations, travel and sporting
events, his days are very busy and rewarding.
Reprinted with permission from Turner Publishing