Brigadier General, U.S. Army
Commanding General, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate),
Date of Action: November 9, 1965


The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Ellis W. Williamson, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam while commanding the 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate). Brigadier General Williamson distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism on 9 November 1965, while directing military operations after a Viet Cong element of regimental size launched a vicious attack on personnel of the First Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry on the day before. When the friendly forces sustained heavy casualties after engaging wave upon wave of fanatical hostile troops, General Williamson directed the pilot of his aircraft to attempt a descent into a 250-foot funnel through a jungle canopy to evacuate the wounded and the dead. Although no other helicopter was able to negotiate the pass, a successful landing was made. Once upon the ground, General Williamson exposed himself to the hostile gun fire, made his way among the front line troops, and gave assistance and encouragement to both the wounded and the defenders. Lending his own aircraft to aid in the evacuation of the wounded from the battlefield, he elected to remain in the combat zone and personally directed the further tactical deployment of the remaining units. His dynamic leadership, indomitable courage, and determination paved the way for the landing of evacuation helicopters, resulted in the removal of a great number of wounded and dead, and inspired the remaining troops with the spirit needed to achieve victory. General Williamson's extraordinary heroism on the battlefield and his profound concern for the individual soldier are in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the armed forces of his country.

Department of the Army, General Orders No. 27 (June 27, 1966)





DSC Awardees