Chief Warrant Officer Richard Lee Williams was born November 13, 1935, in Perry Point, Maryland. The oldest of six siblings, he started his working career as a paperboy. In 1945, while hawking “War Ends”-headlined newspapers for 3 cents, he was excited to get a nickel.
Richard Williams’ unique experience combines 44 years of service to the military for both the Army and the Navy. He was drafted in 1958 and reported to the 714th Transportation Battalion, Railway Operating, Steam & Diesel Electric at Fort Eustis, Virginia. When the Battalion adjutant asked Williams to volunteer to be a clerk, he declined, saying he wanted to work on the railroad. He was immediately assigned to the track maintenance gang carrying railroad ties. A few weeks later, Williams reconsidered and became BN clerk.
In 1960, Williams transferred to the Army reserve 717th Transportation Battalion (railway operating) in Philadelphia and became a dual status Administrative Supply Technician. Steadily promoted, Sgt. First Class Williams transferred to HQ 79th Army Reserve Command. Promoted to Warrant Officer in 1969, he started college, and graduated in 1972.
As a recent college graduate, Williams became a criminal investigator with the IRS serving on the team investigating Spiro Agnew’s fraud. His Army reserve career continued with the 344th Data Processing Unit and the 55th Materiel Management Command. In 1980, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Williams retired from the Army.
Moving to Washington D.C., Williams worked for Department of Labor and then Navy Facilities Engineering Command Inspector General office. He spent 19 years at NAVFAC serving as Deputy Inspector General from 1988 to 2007, receiving the Navy Superior Civilian Service Medal.
An avid runner for 45 years, Williams and his wife Kitt met at a road race. They moved to Coronado in 2007. He has supported his community as a Coronado Historical Association docent, an officer in Silver Strand Chapter of Military Officers Association of America, and inspires the community by regularly running road races, often placing first in his age group. Williams runs Coronado streets daily, reminding us that personal fitness is important at any age.
The Hometown Banner program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 206 hometown heroes. On May 21, another 11 will be honored. The City funds all the costs for the program. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. The inspiration for the program came spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly in Coronado. The local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. At that moment, it was clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From that spontaneous beginning, the program was launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice yearly and men and women with ties to the community have been recognized from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The Hometown Banner program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to country.