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Raymond Eccleston Serveira Williamson
Born (1894-09-01)September 1, 1894
Died September 27, 1957(1957-09-27) (aged 63)
Place of birth Brooklyn, New York
Place of death Monterey, California
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1917-1954
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
Unit USA - Army Field Artillery Insignia.png Field Artillery Branch
Commands held 3rd Armored Division
Battles/wars

World War I

World War II

Awards Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal (3)

Raymond Eccleston Serveira Williamson (September 1, 1894 - September 27, 1957) was a highly decorated officer in the United States Army with the rank of Brigadier General. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, he is most noted for his service as Commanding General, Service Command, South Pacific Theater of Operations and as Assistant Commanding General, 91st Infantry Division during Italian campaign during World War II.[1]

Williamson remained in the Army following the War, and held several important assignment including Military Attaché to Canada or Great Britain and Commanding general, 3rd Armored Division.[1][2][3][4]

Early years

Raymond E. S. Williamson was born on September 1, 1894, in Brooklyn, New York as the son of Sidney and Alice Williamson. Following a high school, he studied one year at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, before received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in May 1913. During his time at the Academy, he was active in the boxing team and reached the rank of Cadet Captain.[1][2][4]

He was a member of the class, which produced more than 55 future general officers including two Army Chiefs of Staff (Joseph L. Collins and Matthew B. Ridgway). Among his classmates were: Clare H. Armstrong, Rex W. Beasley, Robert M. Bathurst, Henry A. Barber Jr., William O. Butler, Theodore E. Buechler, Homer C. Brown, Aaron Bradshaw Jr., John T. Bissell, Mark W. Clark, John T. Cole, Miles A. Cowles, Gerald A. Counts, Norman D. Cota, Joseph L. Collins, John W. Coffey, James A. Code Jr., John M. Devine, William F. Daugherty, William W. Eagles, Charles H. Gerhardt, Theodore L. Futch, Robert W. Hasbrouck, William K. Harrison Jr., Arthur M. Harper, Ernest N. Harmon, Horace Harding, Milton B. Halsey, Augustus M. Gurney, Edwin J. House, Joel G. House, Charles S. Kilburn, Laurence B. Keiser, Harris Jones, Harold R. Jackson, Frederick A. Irving, Harris M. Melasky, William C. McMahon, John T. Murray, Charles L. Mullins Jr., Bryant E. Moore, Daniel Noce, Harold A. Nisley, Matthew B. Ridgway, William O. Reeder, Onslow S. Rolfe, Thomas D. Stamps, Willis R. Slaughter, Stephen H. Sherrill, Herbert N. Schwarzkopf, Albert C. Smith, Joseph P. Sullivan, Edward W. Timberlake, George D. Wahl, George F. Wooley Jr., Sterling A. Wood, Robert A. Willard and George H. Weems.[4]

Williamson graduated in August 1917 with Bachelor of Science degree shortly following the United States' entry into World War I and was commissioned second lieutenant in the Field Artillery Branch. He completed his basic training at Fort Riley, Colorado and Fort Logan, Kansas and embarked for France as a member of 157th Field Artillery Brigade. He participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and was decorated with Legion of Honour by the Government of France and also received Belgian Croix de Guerre.[1][4]

Interwar period

Following the Armistice, Williamson was attached to the 1st Infantry Division under Major general James B. Erwin and took part in the Allied occupation of the Rhineland. He returned to the United States in mid-1919 and served as a troop commander at Fort Myer, Virginia with additional duty as Junior Aide to the White House during the tenure of President Warren G. Harding.[1][4]

In August 1922, he was ordered to the Harvard University, preparatory to detail at West Point in the newly established Department of Economics and Government, where he subsequently served as an Instructor. During this assignment, Williamson met his future wife Anne Bryan, a daughter of Rear admiral Benjamin C. Bryan.[1][4]

He was ordered back to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in summer 1924 and served as First lieutenant and Instructor in the Department of Economics and Government, and Political History until late 1926. Williamson returned to West Point in July 1932 and served as captain and Assistant Instructor in the Department of Tactics and Personnel Officer of the Academy during the tenure of lieutenant colonel Robert C. Richardson. Upon an appointment of new Commandant, Simon B. Buckner Jr. in June 1933, he was appointed his Assistant.

Williamson entered the Command and General Staff School in June 1935 and following the graduation one year later, he served as a squadron commander until August 1938, when he was detailed to the Army War College. He graduated in July 1939 and joined the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for logistics (G-4), War Department General Staff. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on August 30, 1940.[1][4]

World War II

Following the United States entry into World War II, Williamson was promoted to the temporary rank of Colonel and appointed Chief of Rail Transportation Section in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for logistics (G-4). However War demanded skilled officers and Williamson was ordered to Nouméa, New Caledonia, where he joined the headquarters of newly activated 23rd Infantry Division under Major general Alexander Patch and assumed duty as Divisional Personnel officer (G-1).[1][3][4]

He was promoted to the temporary rank of Brigadier general on August 5, 1942, and assumed duty as Commanding General, Service Command, South Pacific Theater of Operations. In this capacity, he was responsible for the supply, salvage, evacuation, construction, personnel management, quartering and sanitation needs of all units during Guadalcanal and New Georgia campaigns. Williamson distinguished himself and received Legion of Merit.[3][4][5][6]

Williamson remained in South Pacific until the end of November 1943 and returned to the United States. Following a brief leave at home, he received orders to joined the headquarters of 91st Infantry Division under Major general William G. Livesay at Camp White, Oregon as Assistant Commanding General. After several months of training, 91st Division departed for the European Theater of Operations in April 1944.[1][2][4]

The 91st Division was scheduled for the Italian front as the part of U.S. Fifth Army under lieutenant general Mark W. Clark (West Point Classmate of Williamson). Brigadier general Williamson commanded a Task Force of his division during the liberation of the cities of Livorno and Pisa and received Bronze Star Medal for his leadership. He remained in that assignment during the combats on the Gothic Line and received another two Bronze Star Medals.[4]

During the Spring offensive in April 1945, Williamson distinguished himself in the vicinity of Vedelago, when an enemy strong point held up forward Infantry elements of his Division, Williamson went forward through machine gun and small arms fire to determine the best method of meeting the situation. He called for tanks and personally directed mortar fire and promptly routed the enemy force. For this heroic action, he was decorated with Silver Star for gallantry in action.[4][5]

Following the surrender of German forces in Italy at the beginning of May 1945, the 91st Infantry Division remained stationed in that country until late September, when the elements began returning to the United States. Williamson's effort during the Italian campaign was recognized by the Allies and he was decorated with the Order of the British Empire and Italian Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus.[1][4][7]

Postwar career

Williamson returned to the United States and was ordered to Chicago, Illinois, where he jonied the headquarters, Second United States Army under lieutenant general Lloyd Fredendall as his Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations (G-3). He remained in that capacity until February 1946, when he was reverted to the peacetime rank of Colonel and appointed Military Attaché to Canada with seat at the Embassy in Ottawa. Williamson served in that capacity until the end of May 1949, when he returned to the United States for brief service as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations (G-3) at Armored Center, Fort Knox, Kentucky.[1][3][4]

On July 17, 1949, he was promoted again to the rank of Brigadier general and ordered to the headquarters, 3rd Armored Division as Assistant Division Commander under Major general Roderick R. Allen. The 3rd Armored Division was tasked with the training of replacements units during Korean War and following the departure of general Allen in June 1950, Williamson assumed interim command of the division. He held that command until February 1951, when he resumed his duties as Assistant division upon the arrival of Major general Ira P. Swift. Williamson once again appointed commanding general of the division in October 1951 and remained in that capacity until November 1952, when he was relieved by his West Point classmate, John T. Cole.[1][3][4]

For his service with 3rd Armored Division, Williamson received a letter of appreciation by the Secretary of the Army, Frank Pace, which states: "During my entire service as Secretary of the Army, I have never been privileged to hear a more meaningful and effective message concerning the American soldier than the one delivered by you to your men."[4]

Williamson was subsequently ordered to London, England and assumed duty as Military Attaché to Great Britain. He served in this capacity until his retirement on July 31, 1954, after 37 years of active service.[1][2][3][4]

Retirement

Following his retirement from the Army, Williamson settled with his wife in Monterey, California. In June 1957, he was diagnosed with cancer of the lungs and liver in an advanced stage. Brigadier general Raymond E. S. Williamson died on September 27, 1957, at his home, aged 63, and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. His wife, Anne Bryan Williamson (1894–1969) is buried beside him. They had together his three daughters: Marianne, Alice and Louise.[4][8]

Decorations

Here is Brigadier general Williamson's ribbon bar:[5]

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Silver Star Legion of Merit Bronze Star Medal
with two Oak Leaf Clusters
World War I Victory Medal
with two battle clasps
2nd Row Army of Occupation of Germany Medal American Defense Service Medal with Clasp American Campaign Medal Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Medal
with one 3/16 inch service star
3rd Row European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
with three 3/16 inch service stars
World War II Victory Medal Army of Occupation Medal National Defense Service Medal
4th Row Commander of the Order of the British Empire Knight of the Legion of Honor (France) Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Knight (Italy) Belgian Croix de guerre 1914-1918 with Palm

See also

Military offices
Preceded by
Arthur R. Walk
Commanding General, 3rd Armored Division
October 1951 – November 1952
Succeeded by
John T. Cole

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 "Raymond E. S. Williamson Papers – Army Center of Military History". Army Military History Division. https://history.army.mil/index.html. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Raymond Eccleston Serveira Williamson - Arlington National Cemetery". http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/reswilliamson.htm. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Biography of Brigadier-General Raymond Eccleston Serveira Williamson (1894 - 1957), USA". generals.dk. generals.dk Websites. http://generals.dk/general/Williamson/Raymond_Eccleston_Serveira/USA.html. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 "Raymond E. S. Williamson 1917 - West Point Association of Graduates". https://www.westpointaog.org/memorial-article?id=7b64bddc-aa43-4a5e-9d82-efc2d6923fc8. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Valor awards for Raymond E. S. Williamson". valor.militarytimes.com. Militarytimes Websites. https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/90047. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  6. Cronin, Francis D. (2017). Under the Southern Cross: The Saga of the Americal Division. Annapolis, Maryland: Eschenburg Press. pp. 192. https://books.google.cz/books?id=ynZUDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT78&lpg=PT78&dq=Brigadier+general+Raymond+E.+S.+Williamson&source=bl&ots=eCF1hazHEc&sig=ACfU3U3ufgUMeZpucpMxAvC8gKv6qZGKuQ&hl=cs&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwig-OLzp7rkAhURaVAKHRlLCSAQ6AEwEXoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=Williamson&f=false. Retrieved August 11, 2018. 
  7. "OBE citation". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. 2014-10-17. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7404105. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  8. "BG Raymond E. S. Williamson (1894 – 1957) – Find A Grave Memorial". https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/17870572/raymond-eccleston_serviera-williamson. 

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