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Williams returns for third star

13 Aug 2009 | Jason M. Webb

Commandant promotes Williams to lieutenant general

The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James T. Conway, promoted the former commanding general of Marine Corps Logistics Command in a ceremony held outside building 3500 Tuesday in front of Marines, civilian-Marines, family and friends.

Williams received his third star during the promotion ceremony, in which his wife, Bobbie, and Conway each took turns adding his new rank to his collar.

“This is probably the first time I’m at a loss for words,” Williams said after taking the oath of office and receiving his cluster of three stars on his collar. “I’m honored by the whole affair.”

President Barack Obama nominated Williams, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made the announcement Aug. 3 confirming Williams’ promotion to the rank of lieutenant general, making him one of 16 lieutenant generals in the Marine Corps and the second highest rank for a commissioned officer in the armed services.

Williams served as LOGCOM CG from June 2005 to June 2009, and he will now serve as director, Marine Corps Staff, in Washington after previously serving as director, Marine Corps Pacific Posture Office at Headquarters Marine Corps.

Conway said that Williams was the right man for the job before promoting him in front of an intimate crowd of friends and former coworkers.

“We don’t have many lieutenant generals in the Marine Corps. It’s a rare event to be able to reward a Marine that’s worked as hard as Willie Williams has throughout his career.  To be part of the ceremony makes you feel very good inside,” Conway said.

Williams specifically wanted to be promoted in front of his former command.  According to Conway, Williams attained an amazing record of commanding and transforming LOGCOM to the forefront of logistics excellence for the Marine Corps.

“It’s been a long, sweet journey,” Williams said of his 35-year career in which he has seen many changes within the Corps.  “It’s been a tremendous ride.  The Corps has been good, and I’ve been blessed.”
Speaking about his promotion to lieutenant general, Williams said promotions are based off the merits of a job well done.

“You don’t consume yourself with accolades or rank. You consume yourself with doing the very best job you’ve been assigned to do,” he said.

Williams is the first African-American to hold the billet of director, Marine Corps Staff, in Washington.

Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Stillman College, Tuscalusa, Ala., a Master of Arts Degree in Business Administration from National University, a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Resources Management from the Industrial College of Armed Forces and an honorary Doctorate of Law from Stillman College.

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany