Although every American who has served in the United States military is a hero in their own right, there are those who stand out for their acts of valor and bravery in the face of danger. Although not all are as recognized as others for their deeds, the United States government does the best they can to honor and give thanks to particular soldiers who rose beyond the call of duty. Here are some of the highest-decorated servicemen in American history, and the stories that separate them from the rest.
Boatswain’s Mate First Class James “Willie” Williams
A Cherokee Indian, James Elliot Williams was born in Fort Mill, South Carolina, in 1930. He went on to join the United States Navy in 1947 when he was just 16 years old. His first chance at active-duty came just three years later when he served in the Korean War on the USS Douglas H. Fox.
There, he led small boats to perform raiding parties on the shores of North Korea. After his service in Korea, in 1966, Williams was deployed to Vietnam, where he commanded River Patrol Boat 105, assigned with fighting Viet Cong soldiers and arms shipments.