Dion Williams

Last updated
Dion Williams
Williams Dion USMC.jpg
Brigadier General Dion Williams
Nickname(s)Father of Marine amphibious reconnaissance [1]
Born(1869-12-18)December 18, 1869
Williamsburg, Ohio
DiedDecember 11, 1952(1952-12-11) (aged 82)
National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland
Buried
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg United States
Service/branch USMC logo.svg   United States Marine Corps
Years of service1893–1934
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
Commands held 10th Marine Regiment
2nd Provisional Marine Brigade
4th Marine Regiment
Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
Battles/wars Spanish–American War

Philippine–American War
Banana Wars

Awards Navy Distinguished Service Medal

Brigadier General Dion Williams (December 15, 1869 – December 11, 1952) was an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He was the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from August 1, 1925 – July 1, 1928. During his early career, Williams pioneered the first conceptual study of amphibious reconnaissance in the United States and becoming one of the strongest advocates in having the Marine Corps assume the amphibious, expeditionary role. During his career, he fought guerrillas in the Philippines and Dominican Republic during the Spanish–American War.

Contents

Williams is credited in the persuasion of Admiral Dewey in 1907 to assert Congress that "a force of 5,000 Marines with a Fleet" would have ensued the Philippine–American War following the Spanish defeat. [2] This 'force' was the first of the doctrinal sequence of the establishment of the Advanced Base Force, its titulage American Expeditionary Force and subsequently its modern namesake, Fleet Marine Force.

Williams retired from the Marine Corps in 1934, spending the rest of his life in Maryland.

Biography

Dion Williams was born in Williamsburg, Ohio on December 15, 1869.

On June 30, 1891, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy.

After completing the required 2-year sea duty aboard the USS Atlanta as a midshipman, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on July 1, 1893. He attended the School of Application before he served at the Marine Barracks, New York and the Marine Barracks, Mare Island until 1897.

He was married to Helen Mar Ames on February 20, 1895. [3]

He participated in the May 1, 1898 Battle of Manila Bay while serving aboard the USS Baltimore' under Admiral George Dewey. Lt. Williams landed a company of Marines at a Spanish naval arsenal yard at Cavite in the Philippine Islands, securing the naval station, [4] and hoisting the first American flag raised over Spanish soil in the Spanish–American War.

Until 1902, Williams served at Marine Barracks, Charleston. In 1902, he commanded a Marine detachment sent to disarm Colombian troops threatening Americans during the minor revolt in Panama.

For two more years, he served in various engagements of the Philippine–American War. From 1902 to 1904, he was fleet Marine officer of the Atlantic Fleet.

In March 1905, Major Williams reported to the Naval War College for two years. By 1906, Williams wrote a study, Naval Reconnaissance, Instructions for the Reconnaissance of Bays, Harbors, and Adjacent Country, which eventually became the first doctrine in United States history concerning the pertinent missions of amphibious reconnaissance. [5] He focused primarily on the establishment and employment of an assault force specialized in conducting pre-assault reconnaissance. Many of the reconnaissance ideas advanced in his studies surpassed and were eventually incorporated in the 1934 Tentative Manual for Landing Operations.

The former Washington, D.C. residence (center) of Dion Williams, while assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence. 1723 - 1727 P Street, N.W..JPG
The former Washington, D.C. residence (center) of Dion Williams, while assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence.

From 1907 to 1909, he was fleet Marine officer of the United States Fleet. From 1909 to 1912, he served on the staff of the Office of Naval Intelligence.

From 1912 to 1915, he commanded the American Legation Guard in Peking, China. From 1915 to 1918, he was Marine Corps representative to the General Board of the Navy. From 1918, he was commanding officer of 10th Marine Regiment at MCB Quantico, where he remained to prepare his regiment for combat duty in France.

Afterwards, Williams became the commanding officer of 2nd Provisional Marine Brigade for pacification duty in the Dominican Republic. Returning to MCB Quantico in 1921, he assumed command of the 4th Marine Brigade as part of the East Coast Expeditionary Force participating in the ongoing advanced base exercises held by the Navy's North Atlantic Fleet on Culebra.

During the 1924 Winter Maneuvers, he witnessed the first use of an experimental "amphibious" tank mounted with a 75-mm gun, as well as the "beetle boats" used as amphibious transports.

From 1928, Williams was assistant to the Marine Commandant. From April 1929 through 1930, General Williams was in command of the Marine Occupation Force in Nicaragua. Until his retirement on January 1, 1934, he was editor of the Marine Corps Gazette while on duty at Headquarters Marine Corps.

After retirement, Williams remained active, authoring several articles on officer professional education and the curriculum at Marine Corps schools, and participating in Marine Corps affairs. In January 1942, he participated in a ceremony at Annapolis, Maryland, where the same flag is now enshrined. It was just after the evacuation of the Cavite Naval Base to the Japanese.

After an illness of several months, died at age 82 at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, near the District of Columbia. Brigadier General Williams was buried with full military honors on December 15, 2008 in Arlington National Cemetery. He was survived by his widow, Helen.

See also

Notes

  1. Daugherty, Leo J., III (Autumn/Winter 1998–99). "Away All Boats: The Army–Navy Maneuvers of 1925" (PDF). Joint Forces Quarterly : 107–113. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2008-11-30. Marine Brigadier General Dion Williams ... emphasized that the most essential factor in an amphibious landing was to 'get men and matériel ... on the beach in the shortest possible time with the least confusion and in the best condition for immediate action. ... It is therefore vital that every effort should be made to provide beforehand suitable means ...'Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. Krulak, Victor H. (1951). First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps. Simon & Schuster. ISBN   0-671-73012-6.
  3. "Williams-Ames". New York Times. February 21, 1895. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  4. Dyal, Donald H.; Brian B. Carpenter; Mark A. Thomas (1996). Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 209. ISBN   0-313-28852-6.
  5. Davis, Major Cletis R., USMC (1993). "Marines: Blind and Deaf in Future Wars". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2008-11-30. The genealogy for amphibious reconnaissance dates to 1906 when Major Dion Williams, USMC authored the Naval Reconnaissance, Instructions for the Reconnaissance of Bays, Harbors and Adjacent Country.

Related Research Articles

Holland Smith

Holland McTyeire "Howlin' Mad" Smith, KCB was a general in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He is sometimes called the "father" of modern U.S. amphibious warfare. His nickname, "Howlin' Mad" Smith, had been given to him by his troops in the Dominican Republic in 1916.

Earl Hancock Ellis United States Marine Corps officer

Lieutenant Colonel Earl Hancock "Pete" Ellis was a United States Marine Corps Intelligence Officer, and author of Operations Plan 712: Advanced Base Operations in Micronesia, which became the basis for the American campaign of amphibious assault that defeated the Japanese in World War II.

George Barnett

George Barnett was the 12th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps. He was a pioneer of amphibious warfare and the U.S. Marine Commandant during American involvement in World War I.

Harry Schmidt (USMC)

Harry Schmidt was a United States Marine Corps general. During World War II, he served as the commanding general of the Fourth Marine Division during the battles of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and Saipan in the Mariana Islands, and as commanding general of the Fifth Amphibious Corps during the battles of Tinian in the Marianas and Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands.

Fleet Marine Force

The United States Fleet Marine Forces (FMF) are combined general- and special-purpose forces within the United States Department of the Navy that perform offensive amphibious or expeditionary warfare and defensive maritime employment. The Fleet Marine Forces provide the National Command Authority (NCA) with a responsive force that can conduct operations in any spectrum of conflict around the globe.

Joseph Henry Pendleton

Major General Joseph Henry Pendleton was a United States Marine Corps general for whom Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is named. Pendleton served in the Marine Corps for over 40 years.

United States Marine Corps Maritime land forces service branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the maritime land force service branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations through combined arms, implementing its own infantry, armor, artillery, aerial and special operations forces. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the eight uniformed services of the United States.

The United States Marine Corps's Advanced Base Force was a coastal and naval base defense force that was designed to set up mobile and fixed bases in the event of major landing operations within, and beyond, the territorial United States. Established in the beginning of the 20th century, the Advanced Base Force was the United States' first combined task force built on the concept of the Marine Corps' traditional role in expeditionary warfare. The slow development of the advanced base force played a significant role in the controversy over the removal of the ships' guards in 1908–1909.

Amphibious reconnaissance

Amphibious reconnaissance is ground and naval reconnaissance in the littoral area bordering coastal or ocean areas. Initially, it is used for preliminary reconnaissance in collecting pertinent information about the beachhead in its permeability and usability for main landing assaults. Specialized recon patrols skilled in boatswain and combatant diving using either amphibious vehicles or rubber crafts to obtain and collect information on the enemy, the topology ashore and inland, and hydrographic surveys for underwater obstacles and mines, and for the purpose of affecting a deception.

The reconnaissance mission within the United States Marine Corps is divided into two distinct but complementary aspects; Marine Division Recon and Force Reconnaissance.

The United States has a long history in amphibious warfare from the landings in the Bahamas during the American Revolutionary War, to some of the more massive examples of World War II in the European Theater of Operation on Normandy, in Africa and in Italy, and the constant island warfare of the Pacific Theater of Operations. Throughout much of its history, the United States prepared its troops in both the United States Marines and the United States Army to fight land from sea into the center of battle.

Clayton Barney Vogel United States Marine Corps general (1882–1964)

Clayton Barney Vogel was a United States Marine Corps officer with the rank of major general who served in a variety of capacities from 1902 until 1946. He is best known for his support of the Navajo code talker program.

Samuel M. Harrington U.S. Marine Corps officer (1882-1948)

Samuel Milby Harrington was an officer of the United States Marine Corps with the rank of brigadier general. His last service assignment was the president of the Permanent General Court Martial Board during World War II. He is the author of The Strategy and Tactics of Small Wars from 1921 and co-author of Small Wars Manual.

Henry D. Linscott US Marine Corps general (1894–1973)

Henry Dallas Linscott was a decorated officer of the United States Marine Corps with the rank of lieutenant general. He is most noted for his service on the staff of Amphibious Force Commander, Admiral Richmond K. Turner during World War II and later as the commanding general of the Department of the Pacific and Camp Lejeune.

Walter W. Wensinger U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General

Walter William Wensinger was a highly decorated officer of the United States Marine Corps with the rank of lieutenant general. He is most noted for his service as commanding officer of 23rd Marine Regiment during Battle of Iwo Jima, when he received the Navy Cross, the United States military's second-highest decoration awarded for valor in combat. Wensinger finished his career as special advisory assistant to the commandant of the Marine Corps.

George J. OShea American Marine Corps Major General

George Joseph O'Shea was a highly decorated officer in the United States Marine Corps with the rank of brigadier general. He was decorated with the Navy Cross, the United States military's second-highest decoration awarded for valor in combat, during Battle of Sapotillal in October 1927. O'Shea served in the Pacific theater during World War II and retired in 1952 as director of 1st Marine Corps Reserve District in Boston.

Emile P. Moses American Marine Corps Major General

Emile Phillips Moses was a distinguished officer in the United States Marine Corps with the rank of major general. A veteran of forty years of service and several expeditionary campaigns, Moses is most noted for his service as commanding general, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island during World War II and for his efforts in the developing of Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare doctrine, especially Landing Vehicle Tracked.

Nels H. Nelson United States Marine Corps Major general

Nels Herning Nelson was a decorated officer in the United States Marine Corps with the rank of major general. A veteran of several expeditionary tours and World War II, Nelson gained reputation as one of the Corps' top experts in communications.

James F. Moriarty (USMC) United States Marine Corps general

James Frederick Moriarty was a highly decorated officer in the United States Marine Corps with the rank of brigadier general. A veteran of World War I, he distinguished himself several times as a company officer with the 6th Machine Gun Battalion and received four awards of the Silver Star.

John C. Miller Jr. U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General

John Carroll Miller Jr. was a decorated officer in the United States Marine Corps with the rank of Brigadier general. A veteran of the Pacific War, he was wounded twice and received decorations for valor on Saipan and Okinawa. He remained in the Marines and retired as Brigadier general and Commanding general, Landing Force Training Command, Atlantic.

References

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from websites or documents ofthe United States Marine Corps .

Bibliography