WILLIAMS, LEWIS IRVING JR.
|Name: Lewis Irving Williams, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 85, USS KITTY HAWK
Date of Birth: 25 June 1943 (Nashville GA)
Home City of Record: Jacksonville FL
Date of Loss: 24 April 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 212400N 1061900E (XJ364667)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Other Personnel in Incident: Michael D. Christian (released POW)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 April 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated 02/07 by the
POW NETWORK with information provided by Lewis Williams. 2018
REMARKS: 730305 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: The Grumman A6 Intruder is a two-man all weather, low-altitude,
carrier-based attack plane, with versions adapted as aerial tanker and
electronic warfare platform. The A6A primarily flew close-air-support,
all-weather and night attacks on enemy troop concentrations, and night
interdiction missions. Its advanced navigation and attack system, known as
DIANE (Digital Integrated Attack navigation Equipment) allowed small precision
targets, such as bridges, barracks and fuel depots to be located and attacked
in all weather conditions, day or night. The planes were credited with some of
the most difficult single-plane strikes in the war, including the destruction
of the Hai Duong bridge between Hanoi and Haiphong by a single A6. Their
missions were tough, but their crews among the most talented and most
courageous to serve the United States.
Lt. Lewis I. Williams was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 85 onboard the
USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63). On April 24, 1967, he launched in his A6A Intruder
attack bomber with his bombardier/navigator, Lt. Michael D. Christian, on a
daylight strike mission into North Veitnam.
Approximately 3 miles from the target, their port (left) wing was hit by 85mm
anti-aircraft fire and was subsequently engulfed in flames. Lt. Williams
reversed course and jettisoned his ordnance before both crewmen ejected. Both
men were seen to land in an open field about 100 yards apart and established
radio contact with airborne aircraft. The crewmen appeared uninjured and
reported their condition as good. The ejection occurred in a well-defended,
populated area near the city of Kep in Ha Bac Province, and capture was almost
Williams and Christian were held in various locations in Hanoi, North Vietnam
before they were released in March 1973. Christian received an award for a
birthday during his captivity for being "The Best Bull Shooter in the Whole
World." Williams' and Christian's lives followed very diverse courses after
Lt. Williams remained in the Navy and attained the rank of Captain. In 1989,
his duty assignment was with the office of the Chief of Naval Operations at
the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Lewis William was awarded 2 Silver Statrs,
2 Legons of Merit, a Distinguished Flying Cross and 2 Purple Hearts.
Lt. Christian was promoted during his captivity to the rank of Lt. Commander.
He voluntarily retired on February 1, 1978 while at the Armed Forces Staff
College. His resignation was as a protest to president-elect Jimmy Carter's
amnesty plan for draft dodgers. In protest, Christian threw his medals on the
grave of a veteran. He had been awarded two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars,
four Air Medals, the Legion of Merit, and the Navy Commendation Medal.
In September 1983, Michael D. Christian died in a fire in his home in Virginia
Williams and Christian were among 591 lucky Americans who were released in
1973 from Vietnam prisoner of war camps. Unfortunately, nearly 2300 are still
prisoner, missing and otherwise unaccounted for from the Vietnam war. As
Williams must surely be aware, thousands of reports relating to these men have
been received by the U.S. Government. The thought that some of their comrades
are still alive is very disturbing to most returnees. They had a code among
them that none of them could honorably return home unless they all came home.
Today, many authorities who have reviewed the largely classified information
relating to missing Americans in Southeast Asia have reluctantly concluded
that hundreds of Americans remain alive today in captivity. It's long past
time our men were home.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
LEWIS IRVING WILLIAMS
Lieutenant- United States Navy
Shot Down: April 24, 1967
Released: March 4,1973
Dear Fellow American,
Words can never truly express my deep sincere gratitude to you for your warm
expressions of concern and "Welcome Home." During the 2141 days of my
captivity in North Vietnam, I lived in a very sterile news environment,
hearing only what the communists wanted me to hear - it was always
anti-American. However, the Bamboo Curtain of lies, hatred, and pain could
never hide the truth-the United States of America is the greatest country on
Many of you want to know a little about me. I am a bachelor, 6"/2" tall with
light brown hair and hazel eyes. I was born on June 25, 1943, in Nashville,
Georgia, but grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. After graduating from the
public schools there in 1961, I attended the University of Florida for two
years before enlisting in the United States Navy in January 1964. Upon the
completion of pilot training in July 1965, I was commissioned and received my
Navy "Wings of Gold." I then flew the A6A "Intruder," an all weather medium
attack jet. My bombadier-navigator, Lt. Cmdr. Michael D. Christian, and I were
attached to Attack Squadron 85 aboard the USS Kitty Hawk when we were shot
down and captured about 30 miles northeast of Hanoi, North Vietnam, on April
24,1967. We were released on March 4,1973. I plan to make the Navy my career
and to be assigned to Naval Air Station, Cecil Field, Florida, to fly the A7
"Corsair II" this fall. Another bachelor ex-POW and I took a trip around the
world this summer.
Now that I am home, I feel as if I never left. I have had no problems
whatsoever readjusting. I refuse to let that experience ruin my life with
hatred and bitterness.
Again, my sincerest "thank you" for your concern and "Welcome Home." It's
great to be back. People like you are the reason it was worth it.
Lewis Irving Williams, Jr.
Lt. United States Navy
Lewis Williams retired from the United States Navy as a Captain in 1992
following a tour as Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station, Alameda, CA. He
currently serves as President of a non-profit economic education
corporation. He and his wife Pam reside in California.