CHARLOTTE, N.C.- A family with over four decades of service to
our country marked an important milestone on Oct. 18, 2015 when
Capt. Mark Williams, one of three men in his family who have served
or are continuing to serve our country was promoted to the rank of
major by his father, retired Brig. Gen. Blake Williams.
Retired Brig. Gen. Blake Williams delivers his remarks during
the promotion ceremony for his son, Maj. Mark Williams on Oct. 18,
2015. Blake Williams and his sons, Mark Williams and Capt. Ryan
Williams (not shown) have over four decades of service in the Army
Reserve. Blake Williams previously served in the 108th Training
Command (IET), the same unit both his sons are currently assigned
to. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 108th Training Command,
The tradition began when the senior Williams enlisted in
the Army Reserve on Dec., 17, 1971. Starting out as a
private, he completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Dix, New
Jersey. He received his commission after completing the New
York State Army National Guard's Officer Candidate School in
1977. He went on to serve as an engineering officer in a
variety of assignments including two tours as a drill
sergeant company commander. He was also the first Williams
to have a connection with the 108th Training Command (IET).
“I started (there) about 1987, when we moved down from
upstate New York (and) virtually I was in that (command) in
various units until 2005,” said Blake Williams.
decisions made by my two sons to serve and to continue the
tradition was met not only with pride but with the knowledge
that they would have an opportunity to fulfill the
leadership potential I saw in them", said Blake Williams.
Being raised in a military Family, Mark Williams was already
thinking about joining the military but he went on to say that the
decision was not made until he finished college, and was attending
law school, that he chose to follow the advice of one of his law
school professors, a retired Army Judge Advocate General (JAG)
Mark Williams, who currently serves as an
administrative law attorney with the 108th Training Command (IET)
JAG office, joined the Army Reserve in 2007 and commissioned as a
Judge Advocate officer. He was soon activated several times for a
variety of missions, among them deployments to Iraq with the 3rd
Infantry Division in 2009 and the 18th Airborne Corps in 2011. In
June, of this year, he joined the 108th Training Command (IET). His
brother, Capt. Ryan Williams soon followed, coming into the Army
Reserve after a break in service.
The Williams tradition of
service saw one of its first notable moments when Mark Williams was
briefly joined during his first deployment in 2009 by his brother,
Ryan Williams, who deployed to Kristi, Iraq six months earlier.
“We ended up overlapping for two or three weeks in Tikrit at the
same FOB so we got to hang out a little bit. It was kind of cool,
being my first active duty, it gave me quite a bit of comfort to
know that he was there and offered to show me the ropes in that
particular area. That kind of put me at ease,” said Ryan Williams.
Another noteworthy event in the Williams Family took place
during that same 2009 deployment. Blake Williams was also activated
with 1st Army at Fort Meade, Maryland, in support of the 3rd
Infantry Division. This effectively had all three men contributing
to the same deployment.
Mark Williams attributes part of his
success to his father's leadership example, one he tries to emulate
because of the emphasis it places on valuing subordinates by
treating them with great respect and demonstrating genuine concern
for their welfare as well as that of their families.
much as he could, he would invest in the personal lives of the
people he was working with, in particular subordinates, to get to
know them, what they were dealing with and to motivate people by
assuring them that everyone had a role to play in the big mission,”
said Mark Williams.
Blake Williams continues to provide
leadership guidance and sharing hard-earned experiences with anyone
“You now have the responsibility for the
Soldiers underneath you so it's important to take care of them,”
said Blake Williams, “Make them successful because you can't be
successful unless your folks are successful.”
son brought back memories for Blake Williams who recalled those
moments in his career. He also expressed that his son's promotion
was a proud and satisfying moment for both himself and Mrs.
Williams. Mark Williams saw the moment not only as an emotional one
for himself but for his father and brother as well.
was no doubt that I wanted my father there. I was also grateful for
the opportunity it gave him to wear the uniform again. He spent a
lot of time at the 108th and now both my brother and I are there,”
said Mark Williams. “I've never been one, and my father is the same
way, to like the spotlight on me but this was one situation where I
couldn't resist the opportunity to enjoy the moment with all three
of the Williams guys there in uniform, serving together. It was
By U.S. Army Sgt. Javier Amador
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