HomeMediaArticle Display

Wisconsin Airman awarded for combat actions in Afghanistan

Tech. Sgt. William Williams, 115th explosive ordinance disposal technician, shares experiences from his recent deployment to Afghanistan. Williams was awarded the Combat Action Medal for his actions during that deployment.  115th Fighter Wing photo by Tech. Sgt. Ashley Bell

Tech. Sgt. William Williams, 115th explosive ordinance disposal technician, shares experiences from his recent deployment to Afghanistan. Williams was awarded the Combat Action Medal for his actions during that deployment. 115th Fighter Wing photo by Tech. Sgt. Ashley Bell

MADISON, Wis. -- An Airman's heroics were recognized Saturday (March 5) as Wisconsin National Guard leaders presented the Air Force Combat Action Medal to a member of the Madison-based 115th Fighter Wing.

Tech. Sgt. William Williams, 115th Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight, braved hostile fire while on a mission to locate a missing U.S. Sailor in Afghanistan's Logar Province in an effort to blow up an unexploded mortar round at the request of a U.S. Army search team.

As Soldiers laid down suppressive fire, Williams emerged from cover and ran to the mortar. He placed charges, took cover and conducted a controlled detonation. He then picked up his M-4 assault rifle and joined his comrades in engaging the enemy.

Williams is just the fourth Wisconsin Air Guard member to receive the AFCAM since the award's inception in 2007. The criterion for the award is that the individual must have been under direct and hostile fire while operating in unsecured space (outside the defended perimeter), or physically engaging hostile forces with direct and lethal fire.

Although Williams' job of eliminating unexploded ordnance is dangerous enough, this was his first experience in combat.
"The first time [getting shot at] is definitely an attention grabber," Williams said. "I'm actually really proud of myself because you never know how you're going to perform in that situation."

Williams' actions came in 2010 while serving on his third deployment as an explosive ordinance disposal technician. He was attached to the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team operating from Forward Operating Base Altimur, south of Kabul.

Lt. Col. Kevin Philpot, 115th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, said he is proud of Williams' actions.

"I'm not surprised at all that he was able to perform extremely effectively in a difficult situation," Philpot said. "That doesn't surprise because of who he is and the type of training [EOD Airmen] receive."

Williams received small squad tactics, shooting and other technical training as part of 30 days of pre-deployment or "Combat Ready Airman" (COBRA) training at Tyndall Air Force Base, Tenn.

Williams hails from Sun Prairie, Wis., and is married with two children. He enlisted into the active duty Air Force in 1996 and has been stationed around the globe, including Aviano Air Base, Italy; Incirlik Air Base, Turkey; Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Osan Air Base, Korea, and Nellis and Scott Air Force Bases in Nevada and Illinois, respectively. He joined the 115th in 2008.

Earlier in the deployment, Williams was called upon at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan to "render safe" four suicide bombers with explosives strapped to their chest. Though the insurgents died from gunshot wounds before reaching the Bagram Air Base fence line, the explosives still needed to be cleared.

This is the type of task Williams has come to know and love from his job. He admitted he loves his family and loves his job, but to be a successful EOD technician, a clear mind is a must.

"You can't be distracted while you're doing that," Williams said. "Once you have time to reflect on it, then you definitely thank God you're still around for your family."

2nd Lt. Steven Montgomery contributed to this story

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

Department of the Air Force does not exercise any responsibility or oversight of the content at external link destination.

The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the United States Department of Defense of linked web sites or the information, products, or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and morale, welfare and recreation sites, the United States Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. All links are provided consistent with the mission of this web site.